BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
SOLOMON Islands needs to generate 125,000 additional international visitors before logging activities can be replaced.
Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela said this in reference to a long standing national vision that tourism will one day replace logging as a sustainable driver to the economy.
PM Hou said, “To replace logging receipts Solomon Islands will need to generate 125,000 additional international visitors.”
He said the spin-off from these extra arrivals is huge and can positively affect Solomon Airlines equipment acquisition, agriculture and fisheries sectors to increase production to feed the country’s guests.
“To do this in the shortest period of time will require active participation from all key stakeholders including total government support, willing resource owners and keen and capable investors to commit to the destination.
“Absence of good and quality accommodation in the Capital and the Provinces is identified as one of the main obstacle to growth.
“The disruptive approach is to saturate Honiara and selected Provinces with quality accommodation so inducing market forces to dictate play, effectively making Solomon Islands a more affordable destination compared to its Pacific neighbours.”
Recognising the important contribution of tourism to Solomon Islands’ economy, the Prime Minister pledged that his government would continue to develop the tourism sector through development and introduction of a national tourism legislation.
“This would include plans to implement range of activities under Tourism Division Capacity Development program to ensure consistency in tourism standards and quality management.
“Also enabling increased visitors satisfaction levels and improving industry competitiveness.”
SIVB CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said there is a need for a change the status quo which requires collaboration and partnership to meet the country’s longstanding vision.
“We cannot go on the way we are if we want to grow our tourism sector,” Mr Tuamoto said.
“We have done pretty well considering the challenges we face but we really need to develop leisure market and hopefully by the end of this year, if we can achieve that, we will have finally cracked the 25,000 international visitation mark.”