New Zealand

Pacific Hospitality Forum wraps up with pledge for industry collaboration

Top hospitality representatives from across the pacific unite for two-day conference in Auckland

The inaugural Pacific Hospitality Forum has officially wrapped up in Auckland, with a commitment from attendees to take action on greater industry collaboration across the Pacific.

The two-day, invite-only, event saw more than 50 hospitality industry professionals and associations from across the Pacific and Australia come together to discuss opportunities and challenges within the hospitality sector.

Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive, Steve Armitage, and Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Hon Matt Doocey, opened the forum following a stirring haka pōwhiri by The Haka Experience.

The Haka Experience. Credit: Smoke Photography

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The delegates covered a range of topics including: fostering economic collaboration; networking across borders; advancing career paths and workforce development; educational opportunities; balancing sustainability with economic growth; challenges and opportunities across the industry; and building lasting legacies.

Two key action plans were identified as outputs from the forum – one focussing on immediate actions and the other looking towards long-term strategies. An environmental scan, backed by data, will also take place to inform a base understanding of the hospitality industry across the Pacific region.

Flight connectivity and immigration delays were identified as some of the key challenges the sector is facing in the Pacific region. Attendees agreed better collaboration and sharing of resources between countries is also essential to the success of the wider hospitality industry and to better understand and address pain-points among island nations.

Steve Armitage, Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive. Credit: Smoke Photography

Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive Steve Armitage says the inaugural event was an opportunity to bring together representatives of the hospitality sector in the Pacific to build connections, collaborate and take action.

“This was the first time industry representatives from across the Pacific were all in a room together, so it’s been an insightful first forum. There’s an opportunity to have representatives from a wider range of Pacific countries involved and a more diverse voice within the group. Discussions to achieve this are already underway, but together we’re invested in the kaupapa,” he said.

“We are excited to deepen our connections across the industry and the Pacific and create some tangible action plans that will guide our collective efforts, strength and knowledge and move us forward in a positive direction.”

Discussions on formalising the Pacific Hospitality Forum group and who will host the next forum have already begun.

Beatrice Faumuina & Dan Te Whenua Walker. Credit: Smoke Photography

Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association Chief Executive Officer, Fantasha Lockington agrees that more voices are needed to get a better representation across the region, but is pleased with the inaugural event.

She said: “The Pacific Hospitality Forum has been an important first step in getting some Pacific representatives in the same room to share learnings and foster connections. A group voice is much stronger than an individual one, especially in some of the smaller Pacific nations, and this forum will allow for a collective voice that can advocate for the industry and hopefully give individual nations the ability to take the important conversations to government.”

Panel discussion, Hospitality New Zealand; Tātaki Auckland Unlimited; Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association; The Pacific Tourism Organisation; Pacific Business Trust. Credit: Smoke Photography

The Pacific Hospitality Forum was hosted by Hospitality New Zealand, Tasmanian Hospitality Association, Pacific Tourism Organisation and Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association; and was supported by Pacific Business Trust, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, NZ Māori Tourism, and Ringa Hora.

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