Hospitality Business Magazine

Pacific Hospitality Forum sets two key collaboration plans

New Zealand’s first 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 at the Cordis Hotel 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.

Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive, Steve Armitage.

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.

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,” says Steve Armitage.

“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. 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.

“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,” says Lockington.

“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.”

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.