Pacific

Influence of Fiji-based eye care facility spreads through Pacific

The Pacific Eye Institute is a non-profit, supported by the Fred Hollows Institute, which provides specialised care for people around the region but also trains and recruits professionals to aid communities in their own countries.

One such professional is Duke Mataka, the sole ophthalmologist (or specialist eye doctor), in Tonga.

Dr Mataka graduated from the Pacific Eye Institute last year before returning to the kingdom to serve his community.

Workshop on Maritime Security in the Pacific

"Good maritime and port security is the enabler for maritime and economic development through maritime trade. It can be taken for granted when it works, but maintaining good security is essential," said the UN body.

The workshop coincided with IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim's visit to Vanuatu, Fiji and Australia - the first time an IMO Secretary General visited the South Pacific.

Pacific insurers see SME and group business as a way forward for growth

However, a lack of insurance awareness amongst business owners, and the condition of some businesses (insurability) are hampering the speed at which insurance take up is happening amongst this market segment.

The majority of the respondents from 12 of the leading insurance providers in the region recently surveyed by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) say that while SME’s make up a very important part of Pacific economies, insurance providers are still working out how to best capitalise on the opportunity that SMEs present.

NZ RSE scheme boosting employment in the regions

Business expansion has boosted employment in regional areas, with RSE employers hiring more New Zealanders from the local community, including through Work and Income NZ.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) Pacifica Labour and Skills Manager, George Rarere says the 2019 survey highlights the positive impact of RSE workers on businesses and the local community.

“A stable seasonal workforce has meant more employers have been able to grow their business operations and put more investment into plant equipment and offer job opportunities to locals,” Mr Rarere says.

Indonesia's Pacific trade show kicks off in New Zealand

Dozens of government and private sector representatives from the Pacific are in Auckland for the Pacific Exposition this week.

On Friday, the foreign ministers of Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia will hold talks, where human rights issues in West Papua are expected to be raised.

Indonesia's ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga, Tantowi Yahya, said he hopes to bring economic benefit to the Pacific through trade and tourism.

World Bank to prioritise climate change resilience in Pacific

Its vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, was in Tonga last week for talks.

Ms Kwakwa said the World Bank was working closely within Australia's Step Up and New Zealand's Pacific Reset programmes.

"We've been working on several things including supporting countries to strengthen their climate change resilience, working to support policy reforms to build their economic resilience and we're also working together on the connectivity agenda," Ms Kwakwa said.

"As you know, this region is very remote, even compared to other small island states."

Rate of child sexual exploitation in Pacific 'appalling'

The survey by the child protection agency ECPAT International shows perpetrators are most likely to be family members or a close family friend.

It was a small study but showed children were being abused for profit at an appalling rate, according to the director of ECPAT International New Zealand, Eleanor Parkes.

"We saw again and again in this research that more often it's not a "stranger-danger" situation.

"More often it is coming from someone that is known to the child so a family member or a close family friend," she said.

Regional Tourism Sector achieves 3.16 million visitor arrivals in 2018

Of this, air arrivals were 2.14 million in 2018, 1.6% above 2017 while sea arrivals, mainly cruise (day visitors) were 1.02 million,” said SPTO Chief Executive Officer, Chris Cocker.

These figures were released by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation in its 2018 Annual Visitor Arrivals Report.

The Report also noted that Pacific tourism receipts or visitor spending in destinations contributed US$3.8 billion or 11.1% to the region’s GDP and generated 131,010 jobs placing the tourism sector as a key driver of economic growth and employment creation for the Pacific Islands.

Australia extends help to Pacific on maritime zones

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said through its Office of the Pacific, the Australian government has established a dedicated Pacific maritime boundaries section to work closely with Pacific nations and help them secure their rights and entitlements stemming from maritime zones.

She said Canberra is providing additional funding of $US2.4 million to the Pacific Community for addressing the risks to maritime boundaries from sea-level rise, and other climate change related impacts.

Ms Payne said Australia has now spent a total of $US5.9 million on Pacific maritime boundaries.

SPTO reports more visitors in Pacific in 2018

The organisation released its inaugural Pacific Tourism Forecast this week which showed about 40,000 more visitors arrived in the region last year - 38,941 more than 2017.

It attributed the growth to a positive global tourism trend, regional and national tourism marketing, improved connectivity and infrastructure development.

The organisation said it expects tourist numbers will grow by 3.3 percent in 2019 and each year until 2024.