BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE
TOURISM Solomons CEO, Mr Josefa Tuamoto applauds the Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s recent launching of the Minimum Standards and Classification for Tourism Accommodation programme, describing the move as “a major step in the right direction” for the destination tourism industry.
According to Tourism Solomons’ press statement, he stated that the release of the programme was timely, in the efforts Solomon Islands has taken in recent times to increase its profile on the international stage.
“This long-awaited but carefully laid out programme will act as a catalyst for the local tourism accommodation sector to take a holistic approach to service excellence. It’s definitely a major step in the right direction for the destination’s tourism industry,” said Tuamoto.
Also emphasised is that among the160 accommodation providers operating in Solomon Islands, only 10 percent can be sold by international wholesalers offering Solomon Islands travel packages.
The programme which aims to set in place an essential improvement of standards in the tourism accommodation sector was officially launched by Minister for Culture & Tourism, Hon Bartholomew Parapolo at the Heritage Park Hotel on July 20.
At the launching occasion, MCT Director of Tourism, Mr Bunyan Sivoro said that while increased tourism was in the national interest, the main benefactors would eventually become tourism operators themselves.
“We in the tourism department look forward to this exciting new chapter in the development of our tourism sector,” he said.
Sivoro also took the opportunity to acknowledge the Minimum Standards Working Committee chaired by MCT Deputy Director of Tourism, Ms Savita Nandan for their efforts in bringing the program to completion.
He also extended the gratitude to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) for their financial assistance to the project.
Australian Volunteer International’s (AVI) Bjorn Svensson with support from DAFT was also rendered special thanks for his immense contribution to the project in areas like providing technical input, guidance in finalising stages of the Minimum Standards document, training and inducting of countless tourism industry staffers into the programme.