Solomon Islands tourism officials are confident the country’s fledgling tourism industry is “on track” to become a major economic pillar in coming years, with Australia the dominant force in its growth prospects.
Recently released research conducted on behalf of the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau shows Australians account for more than half of all international tourism to the country, which last year generated almost $40 million for the local economy.
About 38% of visitors seek rest and relaxation, with another 28% pursuing the Solomons’ renowned diving. Other top attractions include swimming and snorkelling, sightseeing, culture, World War II history, shopping, hiking, fishing, sailing and kayaking.
SIVB chief executive officer Josefa Tuamoto said the research showed the tourism industry was on track, but there were still areas seen to be constraining growth.
“There is a need to address a current accommodation shortfall across the Solomon Islands and in particular in Honiara where we would be well served by an increase in three to four-star accommodation,” Mr Tuamoto said.
“We are hopeful the Solomon Islands’ successful bid to stage the 2023 Pacific Games will have a major flow-on impact, both from the perspective of increased investment in infrastructure and particularly, hotel accommodation and a dedicated convention facility.
Tuamoto said the SIVB was making inroads with wholesalers and travel agents in visitor source markets, but “we still need to do more to get ourselves on the radar”.
“This is something we have to address and with government and local industry support we are working hard to make sure we become top of mind with travel agents, both in our existing visitor source markets and new areas of potential business,” he said.
“Our profile is good but we need to back that up with more product and more sales of that product.”