HONIARA, Solomon Islands – Rounding out a positive year for the Solomon Islands tourism fortunes, officially released figures this week show international visitation for the period January – December 2015 increased from 20,061 in 2014 to 21,623 – a growth of 7.8 per cent.
Australian visitor arrivals again led the way, the 9509 total recorded for the 12 month period representing a 4.10 per cent increase over 2014 and accounting for 43.9 per cent of the 2015 total.
New Zealand has for the first time jumped into the number two spot, the 1451 figure recorded for 2015 marking a 3.2 per cent increase over the 1243 total recorded in 2014.
The US, Papua New Guinea and Fiji arrivals also showed positive growth, figures increasing by 24.2 per cent, 7.8 per cent and 10.8 per cent, respectively.
Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto again attributed the positive result to the efforts the national tourist office has gone to in all key source markets across 2015.
“This is particularly the case in Australia and New Zealand where we have been extremely hard at work creating a profile for the Solomon Islands, working hand in hand with our industry colleagues and Solomon Airlines to perpetuate awareness for the destination,” he said.
“Our efforts in the US, which was heavily affected by the Fiji Airways-Solomon Airlines impasse in 2014, and PNG have also borne fruit.
“But key to everything we do in order to attract more visitation is to continue to continue to broaden the Solomon Islands’ overseas appeal to attract a more diverse range of visitors.
“We are renowned as a mecca for SCUBA divers, surfers, backpackers and more latterly, families looking to reconnect while on holiday and the romance/wedding markets.
“Leading into 2017 we also see huge potential with the 75th anniversary of the Guadalcanal campaign and the corresponding 100th anniversary of the birth of John F.Kennedy which we know will hold huge potential for us, particularly in the US market.
“Key to everything we do is to continue to take long hard looks look and examine how we do are doing things in order for us to take that step change and propel our country’s tourism fortunes into the future.
“Having visited Papua New Guinea and New Zealand earlier this year and with a major east coast Australia roadshow planned in May, we are hopeful of an even stronger result in 2016.”