SOLOMON Islands second International Airport in Munda, Western province will boost economic activity in the Western part of the country.
Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela made these remarks when acknowledging the New Zealand Government’s support towards the Munda airport project.
He was speaking at the New Zealand Pacific Business Council in Auckland recently.
“The ongoing partnership between Solomon Islands and New Zealand in Munda will be beneficial to our people in the Western region as it will also positively transform the livelihoods of our people,” he said.
The Prime Minister added that the opening of the airport will also boost the tourism sector in the province as well as in the country.
Prime Minister Houenipwela said tourism continues to be a major priority for Solomon Islands as an alternative to the declining logging industry.
However, he said creating the enabling environment for the development of the tourism sector remains a challenge for the Government of Solomon Islands.
“80% of land in Solomon Islands is customary land and there are challenges that the Government face in acquiring land for any purpose and freeing up land for tourism remains a constant challenge. However, with the increase of eco-lodges, landowners are begin to develop their resources in furtherance of this small scale endeavor,” he said.
The Prime Minister said whilst Solomon Islands acknowledged that we have a long way to go in terms of competing with other pacific islands in tourism; Solomon Islands is set to market itself as the “alternative destination”.
“We do not want to be another Fiji nor a Tahiti, rather what we provide would be styled the “Solomon Way”. With the increase of “eco lodges”, promoting a “green tourism” model would be our unique tourism platform,” he said.
The first international flight into Munda International Airport is scheduled for this July.
-PM Press Secretariat