HONIARA, Solomon Islands – The Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism have joined resources to stage a National Tourism Forum (NTF) in Honiara on 29 August.
Breaking the news today, Director of Tourism and chairman of the NTF organising committee, Barney Sivoro said the event represented a critical component in the SIVB and government’s joint plans to see tourism become the country’s prime source of foreign exchange earnings in the next 10 years.
“This initiative is intended to act as a catalyst in helping to shape an industry which has more than the potential to become the largest foreign exchange earner for the country in the next few years,” Mr Sivoro said.
“Tourism can drive economic growth, act as impetus in reducing urban drift, alleviate poverty and make for many other tangible benefits.
“This initiative represents a huge opportunity for everyone involved in tourism – and beyond – to have their say in how we intend shaping our tourism industry today to meet and reap tomorrow’s benefits.”
SIVB CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said the event was timely given the local tourism industry has “found itself at a crossroads in its development.”
“While the country had enjoyed a modest annual international visitor growth rate of around three (3) per cent that growth while commendable is still well below projected rates,” Mr Tuamoto said.
“The industry with government support is therefore taking a STEP CHANGE in its approach in an attempt to accelerate growth and provide benefits to the national economy and ordinary Solomon Islanders, hence the staging of the NTF.”
Invitations to the event will be sent to delegates representing each province, civil society, government departments and the tourism industry.
Venue for the 29 August event is the Heritage Park Hotel.
Mr Tuamoto said key speakers, both local and international, would address various issues pertaining to the industry.
It is hoped, he said, that following the forum, tangible and actionable items suggested and agreed upon will be implemented to help drive and shape the future of the industry as it moves forward.