Can tourism become the Solomon Islands’ next economic pillar?

A tourist meets some local Solomon Islanders

A tourist meets some local Solomon Islanders

A new study has highlighted the importance of tourism in the Solomon Islands, and its potential to become a new economic pillar of the country.

Commissioned by the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) and carried out by a Sydney-based research company, the report showed that visitors into into the country had also increased.

Other key findings show that Australians continue to dominate the Solomon Islands tourism landscape, accounting for more than half of all visitors (53 per cent) with leisure traffic accounting for 30 per cent of the country’s overall annual total.

The main reasons cited for visiting the Solomon Islands remain ‘rest and relaxation’  at 38 per cent followed by scuba diving which accounts for 28 per cent of all leisure-based arrivals.

Some of the stunning scenery in the Solomons

Some of the stunning scenery in the Solomons

The survey also found that while water-based activities such as swimming and snorkelling were high on visitors’ wish lists, sightseeing, culture, history and in particular WWII, shopping, hiking, fishing, sailing and kayaking were among the top 10 reasons for visiting.

Meanwhile, the statement said one of the country’s biggest draw-cards remains the friendliness of its people, a factor the Sydney research firm described as “compelling”.

Further insights detailed 62 per cent of visitors stating that they would “definitely” recommend a Solomon Islands holiday. 79 per cent said they would return to the destination for a further visit within the next five years.

A typical beach scene in the Solomons

A typical beach scene in the Solomons

Describing the findings as very positive and evidence that the tourism industry is “staying on track” to becoming a major economic pillar in short time, SIVB CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said there were still areas partly seen as constraining the destination’s overall tourism sector growth – accommodation infrastructure and sales agents’ awareness.

Mr Tuamoto was hopeful the country’s successful bid to stage the 2023 Pacific Games would have a major flow-on impact, both from the perspective of increased investment in infrastructure and particularly, hotel accommodation and a dedicated convention facility.

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