The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s inaugural award for Tourism Business of the Year went to an operation that has become accustomed to accolades.
Dive Munda won the tourism business category at the chamber’s 4th annual Business Excellence Awards last Saturday and added it to a list of two other tourism awards it earned this year.
Owner/operator and operations director Belinda Botha said she and her team were honoured that Dive Munda was the first company to be named the chamber’s Tourism Business of the Year.
“This award will not only help Dive Munda promote the Solomon Islands as a prime dive destination worldwide, it will also help our people and communities to develop and prosper,” Ms Botha said. “Most importantly, it gives us a voice to continue to advocate the importance of sustainable dive tourism, ocean conservation and coral reef protection in a pristine, untouched and unspoilt destination-within-the-destination alike Munda.”
The chamber added the Tourism Business of the Year category to this year’s Business Excellence Awards to recognise an operation with outstanding delivery of tourism services that attracts significant visitor numbers, enhances the visitor experience, and integrates with other tourism products and services. The category also recognises tourism operations and events that foster an understanding and appreciation of Solomon Islands’ culture, history, tradition and arts.
Dive Munda was also recognised at last year’s Business Excellence Awards when Ms Botha was named runner-up in the Entrepreneur of the Year category.
The other awards Dive Munda received this year are the Diving Company of the Year Award from luxury travel guide Global Awards and the South Pacific Tourism Exchange social media award for creating awareness of sustainable tourism and development. Dive Munda won both awards for the second year in a row.
Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau Chief Executive Officer Josefa Tuamoto congratulated Dive Munda on its success and said the company continues to play an instrumental role in promoting the destination’s world-class diving to a global audience.
Sunga Osborne Boso, dive shop manager for Dive Munda and a 20-year veteran diver, said he wants to continue developing the business.
Mr Boso said he supports Dive Munda because he has seen the benefits tourism can have on the country.
“This operation is very small, but it is very unique,” he said. “I’m very glad to be involved as part of the tourism industry.”