PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) is seriously committed towards developing the tourism sector.
And he said his government (DCCG) is the first Government in the history of Solomon Islands that has shown and demonstrated seriousness about the development of tourism in the country.
Mr Sogavare made the comment at the opening of the two-day National Sustainable Tourism Investment Forum under the theme “Invest to Preserve” held at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara, last week.
“…to substantiate and qualify this statement I would say that we are the first government in Solomon Islands to have made a marketing budget commitment to the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau, the commitment to have a Tourism development Strategy and National Tourism Policy.
“Furthermore we have not only made commitments but we are backing these commitments through resourcing the development of the sector through the work of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau,” he said.
Mr Sogavare then assured the Forum of the ongoing support of the Government towards tourism development and other supporting infrastructure.
“…the government will continue to work with its development partners, private sector investors and other interested parties to continue to provide the necessary support in other sectors that are important for the development of tourism in this country.
“As we all know the potential for the tourism industry to contribute positively to the economic prosperity of this country is huge,” he said.
Prior to the Forum, the Minister of Culture and Tourism Bartholomew Parapolo said tourism is a growing industry and one that is very significant to the future of the country’s economic growth.
He said, “although there have been some improvements in the overall performance of the tourism sector in recent times, there is a need to take some concrete steps towards realising the potentials.”
The three key objectives of the forum are:
- To drive investor interest and confidence in the destination
- To identify and address key impediments and
- To achieve 50,000 visitors and 700 rooms by 2027
Currently, the tourism sector records a total of 188 accommodation facilities registered with SIVB. This translates into a total of approximately 1,854 rooms and further translated into 3,685 beds inventory nationwide.
The tourism industry in Solomon Islands is now at the crossroads and needs to position itself as a destination in the next 10 years either to grow at a passive rate of 9 per cent or take a more conscious but aggressive rate of 15 per cent.
Hosted by the government through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB), the Forum gathered both international and local tourism experts where they discussed and share experiences on the conscious direction Solomon Islands is pursuing towards realising its tourism potential.
The forum ended Friday 14th July.