BATTLEFIELDS from World War II forms an important part of Solomon Islands history so do the heritage, which forms an important component of the Solomon Islands tourism products.
WWII heritage though small, standalone special interest market, focussing on the relatives of WWII veterans and historians from USA, Australia and Japan, but also appealing to a broader market interested in recent history.
WWII heritage also provides a key point of differentiation for other markets such as diving, surfing and those seeking off the beaten track experiences.
According to the Solomon Islands National Tourism Development Strategy (SINTDS) 2015 – 2019, has noted that, the WWII product in the Solomon Islands has the potential to be stronger than either in PNG or Vanuatu due to the historical importance of the engagements, the high number of sites and equipment and broad geographical coverage across the country.
There are many sites around Honiara and on Guadalcanal including the American War Memorial, Thin Red Line and Bloody Ridge. Iron Bottom Sound, Tulagi and Western Province also contain significant sites from WWII.
In the meanwhile, most sites however are poorly presented, poorly maintained and in many instances have limited information and documentation associated with them.
Unlike PNG (Kokoda Track) or Vanuatu (SS President Coolidge) there has been no combined effort to support the development of an iconic WWII site into a major tourism attraction, hence, the development of a WWII icon in the Solomon’s would increase the appeal of the destination to this vocation market.