The Samoa Tourism Sector is the first to pilot a very useful tool that can assist all sectors with the review of their respective Sector Plans called the – Every Policy Is Connected (EPIC) Tool. The EPIC tool which is an online app that replaces the Excel tool, identifies the gaps in Sector Plans which can be improved such as aligning issues and actions with indicators to ensure they are measurable.
The United Nations – Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) is facilitating this initiative for Samoa and member states to support efforts in developing comprehensive and integrated indicator frameworks and national policies.
Spearheaded by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics and supported by the Ministry of Finance, the trial runs through 14 sectors in the country, with the first trial being the Tourism Sector as carried out by the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA).
“We are in the process of finalising the Samoa Tourism Sector Plan for the next five years, and this is a timely opportunity to apply the EPIC Tool with support from UN-ESCAP.” Said STA CEO, Faamatuainu Lenata’i Suifua.
“This is a vital tool to assist in conducting our work, especially during these difficult times where efficiency is needed to produce opportunities for our Tourism Industry members and continue to prepare for when borders do open up.” Faamatuainu added.
A series of workshops was conducted at LAVA Hotel in Apia within the past three weeks, facilitated virtually by UN-ESCAP to support the process with an application of the upgraded tool in order to review the current status of the draft Tourism Sector Plan, and determine recommendations the tool can provide in the areas of coverage and monitoring for consideration by STA and its key stakeholders.
The UN-ESCAP team in showcasing and applying the newest version of the app for the first time, saw the workshop bringing together the expertise of STA and partner agencies, such as the Samoa Hotels Association, Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association, Aleipata Tourism Association, and officials from key line ministries, including the Samoa Bureau of Statistics and the Economic Planning and Policy Division of the Ministry of Finance, with emphasis on the Government agencies that are involved in developing policy frameworks as well as monitoring and evaluating its applications and track progress.
For the way forward, contribution by participants to the objectives of the exercises conducted were valuable to validate the outputs to be used to improve the draft Tourism Sector Plan. Participants were able to review coverage of issues for actions presented in the document, the final statistical indicators proposed for monitoring progress against these issues, and the alignment of steps to achieve the results.
The Authority acknowledged UN-ESCAP for the support and the initial trial of the tool with the Tourism Sector, as all strive to recover and sustain their livelihood during these trying times.