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By Bunyan Sivoro Director of Tourism Ministry of Culture & Tourism

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1 By Bunyan Sivoro Director of Tourism Ministry of Culture & Tourism
TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN SOLOMON ISLANDS Challenges and opportunities for sustainable tourism development By Bunyan Sivoro Director of Tourism Ministry of Culture & Tourism Good afternoon everyone. Let me first of all take this opportunity to thank the organisors, sponsors and our good host for bringing us altogether here to deliberate on this very important aspect of the tourism industry. I am honoured and previleged to make a brief presentation on tourism development in my country to try and highlight some of the challenges and opportunities faced in our quest for developing a sustainable tourism sector in the islands.

2 Outline Introduction Profile of Solomon Islands
Tourism sector performance Challenges Opportunities Conclusion So here is my presentation outline. Before I continue, I would like to see how many of us in this room, prior to our introduction yesterday knows or have heard about Solomon Islands in the past by Just putting up your hand up…….Not many people knows that we exist…even our closest neighbour Australia. But for those of you who are not familiar with the Solomon Islands, here it is. We are located in the Pacific

3 Location map Location North East of Australia, East of PNG and North West of Fiji & Vanuatu

4 Profile of SI Third largest archipelago in the South Pacific
Consist of 992 Islands of which, 6 are the major ones Divided into 9 provinces Politically Independent – Parliamentary Democratic Government. Prime Minister – Head of Government and Queen as head of State represented by the Governor General About a 1000 islands scattered over 1.2 sqkm of sea. Off all these six are major islands

5 Profile of SI Population About 600 thousand people
Melanesian, Polynesian & Micronesian Major economic sectors Forestry/logging, Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining Contribute more than 80% of total GDP Tourism is next economic alternative sector It provides the greatest opportunity for sustainable development unlike these extractive industries and the government has realised this fact. The Govt largely depends on Forestry/logging, Fisheries, Mining and Agriculture because they provide…..but the logs are almost running and Agriculture is on the decline (declining) while the Mining sector can be very destructive so tourism offers.

6 Tourism sector performance
So how big is tourism in Solomon Islands? The graph shows trend on tourist arrivals. Over the past decades, the tourism industry in Solomon Islands has gone through turbulent times and growth in the sector has been erratic. From decades of stagnant growth in the 80’s & 90’s to the near collapse of the industry due to the social unrest in the early 2000 and to the recovery period in the late Since 2006, we have seen a steady growth so If such positive growth is maintained in the coming years, the tourism sector is poised to make a much greater contribution to the country’s economy.

7 Tourist arrivals in the Pacific
When you compare our visitor arrivals with our neighbors, we are still very small and I guess lagging behind despite having some of the best tourism resources.

8 Getting to the Solomon Islands/Air accessibility
 The Solomon Islands is served by five airlines:  Solomon Airlines (the national airline) serves the following international destinations: Brisbane (Australia) four times a week; Nadi (Fiji) four times a week; Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) once a week; Port Vila (Vanuatu) once a week. Virgin Australia flies twice weekly from Brisbane. Fiji Airways serves Nadi and Port Vila via Honiara once weekly. Air Niugini operates three weekly flights from Port Moresby. In terms of air accessibility..

9 Economic significance of tourism
Estimate to have generated 501 million SBD in 2013 Around 5.3% of total GDP Around 4.5 % total employment So, how much is tourism worth to the SI economy? Our recent visitor survey estimate that in 2013…..

10 Major source market Australia New Zealand USA Europe

11 Currently we see ourself as a niche destination and try to promote a broad based tourism products as you can see from the screen.

12 Key Challenges Tourism Vs Extractive industries (eg. Logging and mining) Lake Tengano World Heritage site under threat of being deregistered due to logging activities. Mining prospecting on the Guadalcanal Trek – which is believed to have rich bio-diversity including some endemic flora and fauna species with more yet to be discovered. Exacerbated by the fact that more than 80% of the land in SI is customary owned. Land/resource owners are lured by the short term benefits (quick $$$) provided by the logging & mining companies. In terms of challenges, of course, there are many challenges but I only wish to highlight one very obvious in our case in terms of achieving sustainable growth and development in the tourism sector i.e. Already our only WHS is….. Numerous mining prospecting are happening throughout the country including – So that is a big challenge for us. The problem here is that because tourism is small, the people don’t see how it should bring benefit them so they go for the lucrative sector without realising that it has long term negative consequences.

13 Opportunities A high untapped potential for growth. Not fully exploiting the potential provided by its natural, cultural and historical assets and attractions. Our key sustainable point of difference lies in the country’s island geography, pristine environment and diverse traditional culture including the friendly people. Increased support and recognition from the national government. Learning from others experience 10 YFP Sustainable Tourism Program In terms of opportunities, I guess we are yet to fully exploit the potential provided by the country’s natural, cultural and historical assets and attractions.. When you have an economy that is underpinned by extraction of natural resources its not always easy for government to shift away but we have seen increased…. The undeveloped nature of industry also provides us with the opportunity to learn from the experiences of those who went ahead of us so that we can avoid their mistakes. Finally I would like to add that the 10YFP provide us with a huge opportunity to direct our focus on the path of sustainable tourism SO LETS BRING IT ON.

14 Conclusion Involvement of local people in the entire development process vital for achieving sustainable tourism development as they are the owners of most of the tourism resources. Thank you !!! For SI to achieve sustainable tourism development, it is important to involve the local people. They should be driving the industry and get the maximum benefit/rewards derived from the utilising their resources for tourism purposes.

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