A GROUP of visiting tourists were harassed on Sunday.

The tourists were some of the hundreds that arrived in the country onboard a tourist boat Statendam on Sunday.

The group was taken on tour to the historical Bloody Ridge site south of the Henderson airfield but were intercepted on their return.
The group encountered a roadblock.

The van they were travelling in stopped as a huge coconut log was placed across the road.
A masked unidentified man armed with a bush knife (pictured) emerged from the tall grasses and demanded money.

The man escaped only after one of the tourists gave him US$40 (SB$296).
A related incident occurred at the Anthony Saru building where a boy less than 12 escaped with a bag and a camera.

About 1200 tourists arrived in the country on Sunday onboard a tourist boat en rout from New Zealand to Japan via Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Destination Solomons organised the local programme for passengers, featuring visits to World War Two sites.
Managing Director of Destination Solomons Wilson Maelaua strongly deplored those selfish and criminal actions.
“As a local inbound tour operator, I condemn such an act by youths who are not aware of the effect of such behaviour,” Mr Maelaua said

He said this is a very sad incident that must be stopped if we are to increase visit arrivals to our shores
Mr Maelaua appealed to communities leaving around the historical sites to get involved by participating in the up keeping, maintenance and security of all these sites.

“I am sure we can all benefit if we get involved in a positive way,” he said.
Many locals benefited from Sunday’s visit. Even locals strolling the streets who helped give directions to tourists received cash.

“The future of this great nature is in our hands so let us all work together to grow this very important economic sector,” Mr Maelaua said.

Another local person spoken to Josses Hirusi said it is a very shameful incident for Solomon Islanders.
“I urge youths of this country to respect future visitors as our culture is about respect, especially to visitors,” Mr Hirusi said

Meanwhile, Mr Maelaua said that the matter has been reported to police to investigate.