Ecologically Sustainable Development Projects

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Green Tourism

Current Ecologically Sustainable Development Project

Tourism is the most successful industry in the Cook Islands with a 6% annual growth rate (2011/2012). TIS has always been supportive of green tourism initiatives, and has implemented projects promoting sustainable practices and training businesses how to green their business operations. Sadly the tourism industry as a whole has implemented few strategies to ensure our infrastructure keeps up with the ever-increasing tourist numbers. With the revamping of a Tourism Accreditation Scheme, there is a renewed focus on environmentally sound practices for all tourism operators. This is viewed as a good first step In 2011, TIS prepared a paper on visitor numbers and the effects on the environment and submitted this to the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, the agency that recommends tourism policies to government. There is yet to be a response from the Tourism Corporation outlining how the industry will support government to address the issues raised in the report. In September 2012 one of our executive members was appointed to the Tourism Accreditation Board.

Offshore Fisheries

Current Ecologically Sustainable Development Project

Te Ipukarea Society has been monitoring government policy on the offshore fisheries industry and the licensing of long line fishing vessels. TIS has concerns over the close relationship between the government fisheries regulatory agency (the Ministry of Marine Resources) and a foreign fishing association and the lack of transparency regarding the terms and conditions of licenses issued. TIS is also concerned with the MMR policy to increase fishing activity when other Pacific Islands countries are adopting more conservation measures and scientists have recommended that fishing effort be reduced for one species. Initially, TIS brought these concerns directly to the attention of the Ministry of Marine Resources but when these concerns were ignored TIS raised the issue in the media. TIS continues to provide feedback on government fisheries policy including the draft offshore fisheries policy and the National Plan of Action on Sharks. TIS also monitors fisheries regulations, despite never being given the opportunity to comment on these regulations before they are passed.

Tourism Environmental Guidelines

Past Ecologically Sustainable Development Project

TIS developed the Interim Waste Management Strategy with tourism properties. This was followed by the Tourism Accreditation Scheme. We also assisted with the development of Environmental Guidelines for Tourism Accredited properties and taught environmental awareness courses at the Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre.