which subsequently are underused or do not effectively serve their intended purpose. Loss of domestic control of development to foreign investors may result in economic losses when operating policies result in employment of foreigners, repatriation of profits, and market control by the foreign investor which ties services to subsidiary companies.
7.0 Sociocultural Assessment
Because Pohnpeian society is still characterized by strong traditional ties, the potential adverse impact of tourism development on values, lifestyles, customs, and other forms of cultural expression is of great concern. The pace and scale of development, control of land, expectations of visitors and residents, and lack of knowledge about tourism and the skills needed to work in the industry are among the major issues. In particular, tourism’s economic impact is strongly linked to sociocultural change through employment opportunities since tourism will create lobs and opportunities for individual entrepreneurship. As Pohnpei’s population expands, there will be considerable pressure to provide jobs, especially for youth entering the work force. At the same time, Pohnpei’s work force is generally undereducated with almost no specific skills. The most important priority is general education for all residents followed by skills training for specific jobs in the industry, mid-management and management level training, professional staff development for government personnel, and self-employment and entrepreneurial training. The primary source of occupational training is expected to be the College of Micronesia, supplemented by institutions abroad or international and regional programs which can provide training assistance on-island.
8.0 Government Tourism Policy Assessment
Tourism development will greatly depend on the policies and administration of the Pohnpei state government. Both the FSM national government and the state government have tourism goals, objectives, and strategies which require coordination to facilitate consistent and effective development programs. The high degree of state autonomy to regulate and manage economic development has resulted in both shared and delineated responsibilities between the two levels of government. In Pohnpei state, the administration of tourism lies with the Pohnpei Tourist Commission (PTC), a semi- autonomous agency with a five-member board appointed by the Governor. The PTC’s four staff members perform functions related to marketing and promotion, information dissemination, assistance to tourism-related businesses, maintenance of tourism enterprises, and the regulation of tourism enterprises. The PTC operates under two primary types of funding, the general fund for its staff and operating costs and Compact funds for its attractions and maintenance budget and marketing and promotion budget. Currently, no special funds derived from the hotel room tax or airport departure tax are earmarked for the PTC. Because of the relatively underdeveloped nature of the private sector, the Pohnpei state government is expected to play the major leadership role in tourism development in the near term. In order to exercise this leadership, considerable focus will need to be paid to the strengthening of PTC’s marketing research and promotion programs. To assist in this task, external assistance from international, regional, and foreign sources will need to be sought to supplement the limited financial resources of the PTC.