The National Statistics Office expects a surge in the country’s international arrivals after the lifting of the State of Public Emergency by the Government on July 1st 2022.
Releasing the latest international arrivals bulletin on Friday 5th August 2022, Government Statistician Douglas Kimi said international arrivals into the country in the first quarter of 2022 showed a steady trend of decline since restrictions were imposed on International flights by the Solomon Island Government towards the end of March 2020.
However Mr Kimi expects that to change with the opening of the borders and the resumption of international flights.
“Restrictions on international flights as part of the SOPE measure against Covid-19 pandemic had adverse implications on visitors travelling predominantly for tourism purposes.
“This is expected to change after July 1, 2022 with the lifting of the SOPE.”
The first quarter recorded 1,044 total arrivals.
This is a decrease of 11.1% compared to the previous quarter (4th quarter 2021). Compared to the same quarter a year ago, an increase of 28.4% was recorded.
Returning residents made up 72.5% of arrivals for first quarter 2022. This was followed by Visitors with 26.3% of arrivals and the remaining 1.1% were Intending residents.
Visitor arrivals for the first quarter decreased to 275 visitors (34.7%), compared to the fourth quarter 2021 figure of 421 visitors. However, visitor arrivals in the first quarter more than doubled (113.2%) compared to the same quarter in 2021.
Arrivals by country of residence for the first quarter 2022 showed that Australia (64.0%) recorded the largest group of visitors amongst other country visitors to the Solomon Islands.
Although there was 176 Australian visitors in the first quarter 2022, this reflected a decrease of 10.7% compared to the fourth quarter of 2021 figure of 197.
The next largest group of visitors were from Papua New Guinea (11.3%) followed by New Zealand (8.0%), China (4.4), Other Asia (3.6), Other Country (2.2%), United States of America and Japan recording 1.8% respectively, United Kingdom and Other Pacific recording 0.7% respectively, and Fiji, Netherland, France and Italy with 0.4% respectively.
Meanwhile, the highest number of international arrivals into the country was recorded in March 2022, with 143 visitors.
The month of February showed the second highest with a total of 86 visitors, and January with 46 visitors.
The first quarter 2022 recorded zero tourists whose specific purpose of travel was for holiday and vacation.
However, there were 5 transit-tourists who spent an average of 1.0 days in the country.
Australia made up the highest proportion of transit-tourists (100%) for the quarter.