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Country Feature – Tokelau Tourism

The island nation of Tokelau is an untouched jewel in the Pacific made up of three small coral atolls – Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu with a total land area of 12 square kilometres.  Located about 500km north of Samoa and home to around 1,500 people, it is part of the Realm of New Zealand where more than 7,000 Tokelauans live. 

Tokelau is a non-self-governing territory of New Zealand, however, it has its own political institutions, judicial system, public services and full control of its budget.  The position of Ulu-o-Tokelau, the Titular Head of Government, is rotated annually between the leaders (Faipule) of each atoll. The General Fono (national legislative body) meets three times a year and is made up of elected representatives from each atoll.

To get to Tokelau, one would have to travel by ferry, boarding from Apia in Samoa, however plans are in place to construct an airstrip to facilitate better access into the country, an objective proposed through the Tokelau Tourism Policy (TTP). At present Tokelau does not have a tourism industry nor does it has a Visitors Bureau to formally record visitor arrivals via ship.  So the TTP was developed by Tokelau’s Economic Development Division under the Ministry of Economic Development, Natural Resources and Environment (EDNRE) to bring the forefront the importance of setting up the tourism industry on the island. The Economic Development Division is also working on two other key strategies- Tokelau National FM Services and the Tokelau Meteorological Services Strategy 2022 – 2026 that aligns with the TTP.

The Economic Development Division has also reach out to Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) to assist and develop the Tokelau Sustainable Tourism Policy (TSTP). The TSTP is policy will be closely linked to SPTO Pacific Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework (PSTPF).  The TSTP will also be aligned to the Tokelau Economic Development Policy 2017 – 2020 that illustrates sustainable and responsible development for Tokelau. And also linked to the Tokelau National Strategic Plan 2021 – 2026 where the local communities will be the central stakeholders whose input and vision will be fundamental in framing the policy.

Once developed the TSTP will set out a clear national vision, key priorities and goals for developing tourism in Tokelau, whilst focusing on setting a clear pathway built upon values and green principles that are determined by Tokelauans and aligned to the wider national priorities and acknowledges developmental and resource constraints.

In November SPTO’s Sustainable Tourism and Development division will conduct consultations for the TSTP policy development alongside a plastic repurposing workshop for key representatives from each nuku (village) in Tokelau.

Source: Tokelau Department of EDNRE and SPTO

Photo Credit: SPTO Image Gallery