On 13 March 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea in partnership with the Pacific Islands Countries launched the “Republic of Korea-Pacific Islands Trade and Tourism Promotion Project (TTPP)”, hosted by Honorable Lee Tae-ho, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, in Seoul at the Official Residence of the Honorable Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.

The project is the first of its kind to be supported by the ROK under the “Republic of Korea-Pacific Islands Countries (ROK-PICs) Cooperation”, in its effort to promote more structured and long-term trade and tourism promotional activity for the Pacific region as a whole.

In his opening address at the launch, Honorable Vice-Minister Lee expressed hope that the Project would help to enormously boost people-to-people and materials exchanges between the two sides, thereby bringing their people closer emotionally and steadily advancing their relations. In this regard, he urged SPTO to contribute further efforts to promote trade and tourism between the ROK and the PICs. The Project will be implemented over the next two years and is expected to pave the way for better understanding between people and sustainable economic development of the two sides.

Honorable Vice-Minister also mentioned that by conducting the project, the ROK will broaden the scope of its official development assistance (ODA) to the PICs to include not only health and medical care, and infrastructure improvement – the main areas of cooperation, but also trade and tourism.

Under the project, the Korean Government has sought the support of two organizations, namely the Korea Importers Association (KOIMA) and the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO), to assist in the promotion of trade and tourism development and marketing for the Pacific. Mr. Hong Kwang-Hee, the Chairman of KOIMA announced during the launch that KOIMA would facilitate a business delegation to scope trade opportunities in the Pacific region in the latter half of this year.

A prelude to the inaugural launch called “Meet the Pacific” event was also organized by the representative of the SPTO in Korea for hotel groups, tourism marketing organization such as Tourism Fiji, Korean tour operators and travel agents, and other stakeholders from the Pacific and Korea, to participate in a promotional event geared towards networking and introducing tourism stakeholders and their area of work in the Pacific to the Korean tourism industry. The networking session was opened by H.E. Peniana Lalabalavu, Ambassador of the Republic of Fiji to the Republic of Korea.

The highlight of the launching ceremony in the evening was the presentation of a plaque of appreciation by H.E. Peniana Lalabalavu, Ambassador of the Republic of Fiji to the Republic of Korea to Korean Airlines (KAL) for their direct flight service to Fiji since 2005. Currently, Korean Air operates three (3) flights per week to Fiji, which provides easy access to other Pacific Islands. The award was accepted by Mr. Chae Jong Hun, Managing Vice-President of the Regional Headquarters of Korean Air on behalf of Korean Airlines. Upon receiving the award, Vice President shared how deeply honored Korean Air was to be receiving the award.

Both events witnessed a performance by Korean youth volunteers from the International Youth Fellowship (IYF) who had visited Fiji and Pacific and spent some time there, where the performers sang a Fijian song and performed on the famous Te Vaka song “Haoloto”. Themed around the Pacific, the cultural fusion dance, which incorporated masi wear from Fiji, was also choreographed by Korean youths from the IYF on the Polynesian song.

The substantive launch was graced by Government officials from ROK, members of the diplomatic corps and business community, hotel and tour operators from the Pacific region, and so forth.

Ambassador Lalabalavu with Hon. Lee Taeho, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (fourth from right) and members of the diplomatic and business community

 

FES SUBMISSION MARCH 2019

Ambassador Lalabalavu delivers opening address at the Meet the Pacific event with SPTO representative, MS Daisy Park (left)

 

Ambassador Lalabalavu with SPTO and Tourism Fiji Staff (left)

 

Ambassador Lalabalavu (left) with Mr. Chae Jong Hun, Managing Vice-President of the Regional Headquarters of Korean AirGuests focusing on the proceedings during the launch

 

Guests focusing on the proceedings during the launch

 

Hon. Lee Tae-ho, Foreign Minister of Korea delivers welcome address

 

Hon. Lee Tae-ho with members of the diplomatic corps and business community

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