Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has assured the local tourism industry of the National Government’s ongoing pursuit of policies that will provide supporting infrastructure to grow the industry across the country.
Sogavare was the Chief Guest at last week’s Tourism In Focus 2023 Summit in Honiara, which gathered Government Officials, Heads of Diplomatic Missions and local Tourism Operators to discuss the country’s post covid-19 tourism focus.
The Summit was an avenue where Tourism Priorities, Tourism Development Plans, Airline and Marketing Strategies are shared with the Industry to strengthen partnerships in key Tourism Development and Marketing areas between Government, Airlines, Tourism Solomon and Operators.
Prime Minister Sogavare said a policy shift is necessary to prioritize how best to limit the impacts of covid19 and to control community transmission while maintaining economic turnover and protecting the welfare and wellbeing of Solomon Islands citizens.
Sogavare acknowledged that tourism is the next potential driver of the national economy and it is crucial that the government gears its policies to support the industry.
“Our pristine environment and natural attractions places tourism as the next big potential driver of our economy. However, the challenge that we have as we all know is the lack of infrastructures in our provinces. This is where all our natural attractions are. Development of our infrastructure is fundamental to our development aspirations,” he said.
He added that Infrastructure improves connectivity and should lessen the cost for tourists coming into the country.
“We need more bridges, roads, wharves and airports in our provinces. Our bilateral partners and donors have been supporting us and I thank you for that but I must say that we need to develop our infrastructure further”.
“The government will continue to pursue its policies to increase unique tourism products and offerings by facilitating and supporting the development of these enabling infrastructures,” he told the Summit.
Held on the Theme “Repositioning the Solomon Is.” Brand, the annual Summit formally commenced the fiscal year for the Tourism Industry. It was a collaborative Initiative between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Tourism Solomons and Solomon Airlines to present Updates, Work Plans and Key strategic focus for the year to all Tourism Operators and other Government Representatives and Stakeholders including donor partners.
It also provided an opportunity to share, dialogue and exchange information to work together to help rebuild and accelerate the recovery of the tourism sector post covid 19.