By Bunyan Sivoro Director of Tourism Ministry of Culture & Tourism

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TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN SOLOMON ISLANDS Challenges and opportunities for sustainable tourism development. By Bunyan Sivoro Director of Tourism Ministry of Culture & Tourism. Outline. Introduction Profile of Solomon Islands Tourism sector performance Challenges Opportunities Conclusion. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of By Bunyan Sivoro Director of Tourism Ministry of Culture & Tourism

SOLOMON ISLANDS GOVERNMENT

TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN SOLOMON ISLANDSChallenges and opportunities for sustainable tourism development

ByBunyan SivoroDirector of TourismMinistry of Culture & TourismGood 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.1IntroductionProfile of Solomon IslandsTourism sector performanceChallengesOpportunitiesConclusionOutlineSo 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 existeven 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 Pacific2Location

Location map

North East of Australia, East of PNG and North West of Fiji & Vanuatu

3Third largest archipelago in the South PacificConsist of 992 Islands of which, 6 are the major onesDivided into 9 provinces

PoliticallyIndependent Parliamentary Democratic Government. Prime Minister Head of Government and Queen as head of State represented by the Governor General

Profile of SIAbout a 1000 islands scattered over 1.2 sqkm of sea. Off all these six are major islands4Population About 600 thousand peopleMelanesian, Polynesian & Micronesian

Major economic sectorsForestry/logging, Agriculture, Fisheries and MiningContribute more than 80% of total GDPTourism is next economic alternative sectorIt provides the greatest opportunity for sustainable development unlike these extractive industries and the government has realised this fact.

Profile of SIThe 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.5Tourism 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 80s & 90s to the near collapse of the industry due to the social unrest in the early 2000 and to the recovery period in the late 2000. 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 countrys economy. 6Tourist arrivals in the PacificWhen 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. 7The 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.

Getting to the Solomon Islands/Air accessibilityIn terms of air accessibility..8Estimate to have generated 501 million SBD in 2013Around 5.3% of total GDPAround 4.5 % total employment

Economic significance of tourismSo, how much is tourism worth to the SI economy? Our recent visitor survey estimate that in 2013..9AustraliaNew ZealandUSA Europe Major source market

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

Key ChallengesIn 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 dont see how it should bring benefit them so they go for the lucrative sector without realising that it has long term negative consequences.12 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 countrys island geography, pristine environment and diverse traditional culture including the friendly people. Increased support and recognition from the national government.Learning from others experience10 YFP Sustainable Tourism Program

OpportunitiesIn terms of opportunities, I guess we are yet to fully exploit the potential provided by the countrys 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.13 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 !!!

ConclusionFor 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.14