Cook Islands Tourism CEO appointed Interim Chairman

SPTO - Release

27th April, 2020. Suva, Fiji

For the first time in its history the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) has appointed an interim Chairperson, who will serve in the position up until the next Board of Directors Meeting is called. 


Initially scheduled for 21-22 May, the first SPTO Board of Directors meeting for 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A new date has yet to be set, given the ongoing developments globally. 

While confirming the appointment of Mr. Halatoa Fua (CEO Cook Islands Tourism Cooperation) as the interim Chairman of the Board, SPTO CEO, Christopher Cocker, explained that the unprecedented resignations of both the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Board had prompted the appointment. 

“In late 2019 our former Chairman Mr. David Vaeafe left the American Samoa Visitors Bureau which in turn impacted his position as Chairman. More recently our Deputy Chair Ms. Felicity Bollen (CEO Niue Tourism) alerted us to her resignation from Niue Tourism, to take up a new opportunity in New Zealand, where she resides. I thank Felicity for her empowering leadership and unwavering support we wish her the very best for the future, said Mr. Cocker. 

Fua, who overwhelmingly secured the majority vote from SPTO member countries and private sector representatives on the Board, has worked at the Cook Islands Tourism Cooperation for 10 years and has been the CEO since 2012. With a Masters in Business Administration, Halatoa has vast experience in the Pacific including various roles with ANZ in Kiribati and Tonga. 

His aspirations and vision for SPTO include the transformation of the organisation, to become a global leader in sustainable tourism, and to add significant value proposition and purpose to SPTO member countries and private sector members. 

“I am humbled by the confidence in my abilities, shown by my fellow Board members. This is indeed an unprecedented and challenging time for the Pacific Tourism industry, which has been one of the hardest hit sectors. Although we are a diverse region, we must tap in to our similarities of culture and spirit in order to work together, remain committed to SPTO and to overcome the many challenges ahead. There is a lot of work on our hands and we must work together for the benefit of our Pacific people”, said Mr. Fua. 

Mr. Fua’s, position as interim Chair will become effective on 1st May, 2020. 


About SPTO 

Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region. Its 21 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Rapa Nui, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu Wallis & Futuna and the People’s Republic of China. In addition to government members, the Pacific Tourism Organisation also enlists a private sector membership base. 

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