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Fresh Faces: SPTO Marketing Manager Zaheer Hassan

Newly appointed South Pacific Tourism Organisation Marketing Manager ZAHEER HASSAN explains how SPTO is supporting eco-tourism in its 21 member nations, what it has planned next, and reveals his top travel tip.


Where was the last place you travelled - and where would you like to go next?

The last place I travelled to was San Francisco in March 2019. I travelled quite a bit in the first quarter of 2019, having visited New Zealand, Hong Kong, India and USA.

I would love to travel to Singapore and Malaysia next, when the borders reopen of course. I had planned to visit Singapore this year but it was not meant to be!


Why did you take up this role? 

I’ve always wanted to work in the tourism industry and getting the Marketing Manager’s role at SPTO was definitely a dream come true.

With almost 18 years’ experience in marketing and a strong background in digital marketing, public relations and branding, I believe I can contribute a lot to SPTO’s marketing efforts.

I am quite excited and humbled by this appointment and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead, especially the challenge of dealing with COVID-19 that has seriously affected the tourism industry. 


Tell us something people might not know about SPTO?  

SPTO was established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific. It 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, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna, Rapa Nui and the People’s Republic of China.

In addition to government members, the Pacific Tourism Organisation has about 200 private sector members. 

SPTO also has a Sustainable Division which is responsible for supporting the sustainable development of tourism in the Pacific in terms of the environmental, socio-cultural and economic aspects. The division aims to bring together all stakeholders including individuals, businesses, government agencies, experts, development partners and travellers to share information, learn from experiences and promote collective efforts in preserving Pacific destinations through a range of actions that matter.


Tell us one thing that the SPTO is involved in or has planned that’s got you excited.

SPTO is now moving towards digitalization and this is something that I am super excited about. I am highly skilled in digital marketing and am already planning a few campaigns.


What’s one travel experience you’ve had that really stands out?

My trip to China in 2017 would be a real highlight. I spent a week in Shanghai and the experience was phenomenal. I visited heaps of historical sites and explored the city with a friend. I wouldn’t mind visiting Shanghai again. 


What’s your top travel tip? 

Always keep spare batteries and SD cards if you are carrying a camera and a power bank if you are using your phone as your primary photography equipment. I would also invest in a water-proof action camera for more thrilling adventures. 


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Written by: Zaheer Hassan as told to Traveltalk
Published: 9 December 2020

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