Solomons launches new tourism strategy
The Solomon Islands government will be introducing a new data system to help it monitor the progress of planned developments in its tourism sector.
The Solomon Islands government will be introducing a new data system to help it monitor the progress in its tourism sector.
The new systems are part of the country's National Tourism Development Strategy that will be launched on Friday by the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism John Wasi spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the focus of the five-year strategy.
JOHN WASI: Well basically looking at the National Strategic Plan 2015-2019 there are five key important components in the plan. One is marketing research and this is basically the increase the awareness of Solomon Islanders and demand and the yield for tourism products. Secondly is the transport and infrastructure. This is a key component to improve destination competitiveness through increased accessibility, also infrastructure use and also to be safe and reliable transport system. The fifth component is the product development and investment. We want to support tourism products that enhances the Solomon Islands competitive position and this includes you know cultures, dives, world war two relics, surfing and so on. These are kind of the products that are available in the Solomons. The fourth component of this is human resource development and again we want to build a tourism human resource capacity that will cater for the growing demand of Tourism in the Solomons. And finally the fifth component of this is the cruise shipping and yachts. We want to expand the cruise shipping industry to support the expansion of sustainable shipping and also yachting in Solomon Islands.
KOROI HAWKINS: Looking at the figures, how much does tourism currently contribute to overall GDP and where do you want it to be, where are you aiming?
JW: I can give you some rough idea of what we have, surveys that we have had. 2012 or 13 figures have shown that we only have 24,000 people (visitors) in 2013 and we have an average of 15 nights per person and the average contribution of $1500 [Solomon Islands dollars equivalent to 193 US dollars] per person per night in the country. So when we are calculating their contribution to the economy is well over 500 million Solomon dollars [64 million US dollars] and that is why we see this as a very sustainable and productive sector which the DCC really, really want to emphasise. One of the issues that comes under this national strategic plan as well is the development of a very robust and also accurate data system. Which the government is working with the other relevant ministries and stake-holders to establish. This plan is also encompassing the Pacific Plan that tourism is a sustainable sector for the Pacific Island countries. So I can provide some renewed vision for the people and especially giving some encouragement and also support especially to our private sectors who are basically the engine for growth in the tourism industry.
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