BY BEN BILUA
THE Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) is looking at promoting domestic tourism as international tourism has been grounded due to covid-19.
Chief Executive Officer of SIVB, Mr Josefa Tuamoto said the impact of covid-19 has been well documented with visitor numbers flattened to an absolute standstill since the border closured in March 2020.
He said SIVB has been looking at best respond plan and came up with a “A 5 Point” plan which focus on realigning possible markets to keep tourism activities alive in the country.
“We together with the Ministry of Culture and tourism met with the industry and other players to see the way forward.
“A 5-point plan was put together and an emanating from that a marketing plan was designed.
“The marketing plan essentially called for re-alignment of our approach from International to domestic tourism.
“In addition, our focus is now on digital platforms to promote domestic travel and also push our products via PR,” Tuamoto said.
He said SIVB and its partners will meet next month to discuss best approaches that will resuscitate tourism amidst covid-19 challenges.
According to a study carried out by Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), Tourism is without a doubt one of the hardest hit sectors, with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) warning of a potential 60-80 percent decline in international tourist numbers for 2020, when compared with 2019 figures.
In brief, this will result in the loss of at least five to seven years of growth in the industry. The 22 percent decline recorded for the first quarter alone translates to a US$80 billion loss in exports from tourism.
With ongoing uncertainty surrounding the containment of covid-19, the duration of travel restrictions and gradual re-opening of borders, and the resumption of travel and ability of the industry to rebound will remain difficult to forecast. However, the potential impact of the loss of demand in international travel worldwide could translate into:
• Loss of 850 million to 1.1 billion international tourists;
• Loss of US$910 billion to US$1.2 trillion in export revenues from tourism; and
• 100 to 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk.
Pacific tourism impacts a significant number of livelihoods, the vast majority of which have been put at risk along with the progress made in advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)