BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
WITH full government support, the national tourism office of Solomon Islands is active both domestically and internationally and is playing a major role in the country’s economic future.
According to Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau, tourism is seen as an economic saviour for the country.
Solomon Islands is one of the top six sources of foreign exchange and government record highlights tourism becoming a top-two source of foreign exchange within the next five-ten years.
Priority is now being placed on tourism development and an effort is being taken to facilitate growth under the country’s national tourism policy as well as bring focus to bear on upgrading tourism accommodation and product.
New constructs in 2017 included the Coral Sea Resort & Casino in Honiara and Ginger Beach Resort a short drive from the capital, SIVB said.
Development of the extremely lucrative cruise sector remains a key focal area of the strategy and one which the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Tourism Solomons have aggressively developed in partnership with Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises.
With the Solomon Islands, traditional economic bases – particularly the mining and timber industries moving into ‘sunset’ mode, tourism is set to play a major role in the Solomon Islands’ ongoing economic fortunes.
SIVB said, having a fully-supportive government and proactive national carrier are critical to the Solomon Islands tourism sector achieving its objectives.
It said currently tourism accounts for SBD447,000 (approx USD60,702,600)—Source, Central Bank of the Solomon Islands.
The current other main exports for the country are as follows:
- Timber – valued at USD149, 536.29 million.
- Crude palm oil – valued at USD21, 258.08 million.
- Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted – valued at USD11, 357.09 million.
- Copra – valued at USD9, 288.09 million.
- Crude palm kernel or babassu oil and fractions – valued at USD7, 825.72 million—source – Pacific Islands Trade & Investment.
“Tourism Solomons is hopeful more accommodation will come on line as the country approaches the 2023 staging of the Pacific Games which will see big infrastructure development in and around Honiara,” SIVB said.