8 Oct 2007

Solomon Islands plans boost in tourist numbers

3:32 pm on 8 October 2007

The Solomon Visitors Bureau wants to reassure tourists it is an ideal holiday destination.

The Bureau's General Manager Michael Tokuru says its strategic plan aims to better promote tourism, and has set a target to bring in more than 20-thousand tourists by 2010.

In particular the Central Province has recorded a notable growth in the industry with 11 new operations being built, although only one has opened for business so far.

The province is a popular weekend destination, but operators say they have been facing a downturn, since June.

Mr Tokuru says they want to attract a mix of travellers, from mid to up market visitors, in particular those interested in eco-tourism.

"Well all I can say is in spite of all the publicity, that's negative about Solomon Islands, 95-percent of the country is free and safe and any visitor is very welcome to take their holiday and visit Solomon Islands."

Pacific Blue has applied to fly into Honiara and Michael Tokuru says they welcome such moves to increase passenger numbers from Australia - Solomon Islands biggest tourist market.