As Pacific island nations search for industries to expand their economic base, tourism has become a primary means of economic development. The tourism industry of the state of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia has had a relatively short history but its increasing importance of tourism to Pohnpei state has raised a number of concerns regarding its direction, impacts, and role in meeting state as well as national development goals. In order to address the needs of the industry, the Pohnpei Tourist Commission requested the School of Travel Industry Management, University of Hawaii at Manoa, to prepare a comprehensive tourist development plan for Pohnpei state. The plan is presented in two parts: 1) a narrative section which provides the analytical context for the action plan, and 2) a tourism development action plan with short- and medium-term strategies to coincide with the state and national planning periods. The action plan contains goals, objectives, and implementing actions which are tied to funding and departmental and agency responsibilities. The plan is based on the concept of sustainable tourism development which involves the management of all resources to avoid depletion and is guided by the need to maintain a balance between environmental, sociocultural and economic considerations.
2.0 General Overview
Pohnpei state is one of the four island states of the Federated States of Micronesia (ESM). The Federated States of Micronesia was created through a constitution approved by voters in Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Yap in 1978 and through the execution of a Compact of Free Association with the U.S. in 1986. Of the four island states, Pohnpei is the largest in terms of land area with a total of 133.4 sq. mi. In addition to the island of Pohnpei, the state includes 25 smaller islands. Pohnpei92s climate is tropical, and it is among the wettest places in the Pacific with an average annual rainfall of 200 inches in the town of Kolonia and up to 400 inches in mountainous areas. Pohnpei’s 1993 population was approximately 34,000 persons, and the annual population growth rate was estimated at 3.3 percent. Approximately 46 percent of Pohnpei92s population was under the age of 15 and 75 percent was under the age of 25. In 1990, the labor force was estimated to be 17,410 with an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. Rapid population growth and limited resources have contributed to the relatively low level of educational attainment, with only 26 percent of the population aged 20-24 having completed secondary education or above in 1990.
Pohnpei’s economy is a dual economy consisting of: 1) a large traditional (non- money) economy including non-wage work such as agriculture, fishing, and the production of household goods for home consumption; and 2) a cash economy consisting primarily of a government sector which is dependent on financial assistance under the Compact of Free Association with the U.S. and a commercial sector comprised of wholesale and retail trade. Pohnpei’s gross state product based on expenditure was estimated at $57.6 million in 1989. Pohnpei must import a large proportion of its food, fuel, and other commodities for consumption, and the ratio of imports to exports was almost 3:1. In terms of 1991 exports, fish ranked first at $7.85 million and tourism second