French Polynesia hosted Blue Days, the regional seminar on Pacific ecotourism on June 1-5, 2015 around the theme of preserving iconic species.  Blue Days brought together 14 member countries of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) along with approximately thirty ecotourism players in the Pacific. The conference was divided into plenary sessions and workshops, which enabled small Pacific Island Countries to comment on this theme.

 

The member countries came to a consensus that:

  • Eco-tourism represents an opportunity for the development of the regional and local economy, and must be implemented to benefit indigenous communities and respect for the environment;
  • Local cultural practices and knowledge is an essential component of sustainable economic development of this type of niche market;
  • To this end, the Participating Countries recommended the establishment of a multiannual program providing the opportunity for Pacific territories to coordinate their effects and to meet their common expectations;
  • They also agree on the need for regional and national strategies to ecotourism, which could fall if any in the regional tourism strategy SPTO;
  • They want to be put in place which enables all actors of ecotourism marine regularly to exchange information and experiences;
  • Pacific countries want to integrate the principles of community-based ecotourism in their national development policies and their legal framework, including strengthening the skills of local communities in the tourism sector and for marine life conservation;
  • Finally, it is our responsibility to ensure the sustainability of tourism in our small island countries, that these activities are adapted to the geographical and human environments of our islands and their impacts are as limited as possible for the well-being of all.

The French Polynesia Minister of the Environment, Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu, welcomed these promising findings. It is hoped that these discussions and consensu will guide the member governments of each country to consider all tourism development proposals for their social project.