A funding arrangement of NZD$550,000 (SBD$2.8m) to support the tourism sector in Solomon Islands was signed on Tuesday at the New Zealand High Commission, between New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.
A statement from the NZ High Commission said the agreement will support the recovery of the tourism sector after the challenges that have accompanied the pandemic.
“It will support the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to continue working with operators to use COVID-19 safety protocols and keep visitors safe; drive the development of tourism products and minimum standards, including investing in key national tourism assets ahead of the Pacific Games; and improve sector coordination,” the statement said.
“The aim is to drive a growing, sustainable, and inclusive tourism sector in Solomon Islands,” it added.
The agreement is part of a wide range of work underway to support the recovery of the tourism sector.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, with support from Strongim Bisnis, have trained operators in COVID-19 safety protocols, so that venues are ready to open their doors as tourists return.
New Zealand will also support technical advice and grant funding to Tourism Solomon Islands, to drive marketing and online communications, as well as small grants to tourism businesses through Business Link Pacific.
High Commissioner Jonathan Schwass noted the importance of partnership in rebuilding the tourism sector.
“New Zealand has been supporting tourism since 2017, because we see the tourism sector as critical to economic development in Solomon Islands, particularly in the provinces,” Schwass said.
“This arrangement represents a new chapter in New Zealand’s support to tourism, and we are excited to be seeing this work progress,” he added.
In acknowledging the support, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Barney Sivoro thanked the New Zealand government for the assistance, and noted that it is timely as the country looks forward to the opening of international border in July.