The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Human Development Programme (HDP) has appointed tourism and handcraft consultant Jessie McComb to develop a strategy to market Pacific cultural industries to the European Union (EU) and other regions.

The Pacific is rich in cultural industries. However, the sector suffers from a lack of coordination and information between actors, institutions and markets. The strategy will pull together and help organise the cultural industries sector so that producers of cultural expressions, goods and services are able to indentify and meet their actual and potential markets and earn a regular income.

The consultancy will focus on the development of a marketing strategy for visual arts, art crafts, dance, fashion and music. SPC Culture Adviser Elise Huffer said the idea is to gauge the potential markets in the specific areas of cultural industries that are ready to enter and maintain their presence in the EU market.

Over the next month, Ms McComb will consult with a range of stakeholders, including ministries of trade and commerce and ministries of culture; national private sector organisations; cultural practitioners, producers and entrepreneurs; and regional and international agencies that promote Pacific cultural goods and services. Her work will also cover in-country assessments in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

Ms McComb has over nine years of experience in the cultural industries; knowledge of fine arts, crafts, and the global fashion and tourism industries; and degrees in both art history and sustainable tourism. She has worked in cultural development in Asia, Africa and Latin America. More recently she has worked as a consultant for the Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance.

Ms McComb said the consultancy with SPC is her first work in the Pacific. 'This is really a great opportunity for me to bring the knowledge and experience that I have to a new region,' she said. 'It is exciting because you learn so much about variety and methodology and what works and what has not worked, she added.

The study is made possible through European Commission funding and is an activity under the 'Structuring the Cultural Sector in the Pacific for Improved Human Development' project. The project is being implemented by SPC's Human Development Programme.