BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
THE fate of cruise ship visits to Gizo is in the limelight as the province’s government plans to convene a meeting with stakeholders over the matter.
This follows Monday’s huge disappointment when Pacific Eden skipped Gizo over bad weather, the second time for this to happen.
Western province secretary Jeffery Wickham on Thursday told Island Sun that Monday’s incident has prompted them to seriously consider relooking deals and arrangements regarding cruise ship visits to the province.
He said among the agenda would be alternative ports to Gizo, to which a ship could be diverted once Gizo faces bad weather during a visit.
“This is the second time, cruise ship Pacific Eden skipped Gizo.
“I would like to convene a meeting here in Gizo with Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MTC), Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau’s (SIVB), Ship Agent, Marine Department, Tourism Operators, SIPA, etc to discuss Cruise Ship matters.”
The date for the meeting is yet to be set, however Wickham hints that it will take place before the next scheduled cruise ship visit next month.
“It is sad really to see disappointments from the general public in Gizo. We all have to rethink on the way forward for tourism industry in the Province especially the cruise ship market.
“Gizo Island has three different alternative anchorage sites but due to technical requirements. I hope the same matter will not repeated on the next call on the 3rd of September.”