Kiribati wins Creative Tourism Award

The Tourism Authority of Kiribati (TAK) through the Kiribati Tourism Plastic Repurposing Programme has won the Best Strategy in Creative Tourism Development category in the 2020 Creative Tourism Awards organised by the World Creative Tourism Network.

In an official letter to the Kiribati Minister for Information, Communications, Transport and Tourism Development (MICTTD), Honourable Tekeeua Tarati, the World Creative Tourism Network stated that the international jury, composed of experts in tourism, marketing and creative industries, assumed the heavy task to select the winners among a total of 184 applications, from 37 countries and highlighted the pioneering approach of the Tourism Authority of Kiribati. The main criteria were the use of creativity to design unique experiences and to create an ecosystem at a local scape.

The jury of Creative Tourism Awards highlighted the pioneering strategy designed by TAK to convert a negative externality – plastic contamination into a value chain for the whole territory in terms of inclusiveness, social cohesion, economic reactivation, heritage recovery, destination’s attractiveness, among many others. The committee also highlighted TAK’s sustainable approach in relying on circular economy, creativity, and communities’ engagement to reinvent its tourism, offering unique experiences, and especially in a pandemic context and the TAK’s excellence in betting on creativity and quality in designing experiences that enhance the cultural heritage and local identity.

Upon receiving the award, Hon. Tekeeua Tarati congratulated the Tourism Authority of Kiribati for the innovative initiative and said that “being a tiny nation on the map, this success will help promote Kiribati to the world”. He added that “the TAK led program not only addresses the challenge of solid waste management in Kiribati, but also showcases Kiribati’s creativity in the art of handicraft and jewellery making, something that appeals greatly to our visitors”.

The Director of the Creative Tourism Network®, Caroline Couret, pointed out “the added value of these awardees, in a year in which creative tourism has demonstrated how creativity and human resources are essential.” The winners will benefit from the international promotion of the Creative Tourism Network®, as well as strategic collaborations and synergies through 2021, declared “International Year of Creative Economy and Sustainable Development” by the United Nations.

Tourism Authority of Kiribati CEO, Petero Manufolau acknowledged the invaluable contribution and support of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s (PIFS) Small Island States Division and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) to the program. TAK also acknowledges the guidance of Pacific renowned artist, Warwick Marlow.

The Kiribati Tourism Plastic Repurposing Program was launched in South Tarawa in December 2020 and TAK plans to introduce this program to other islands throughout the country.