New airline enters competition for Solomon Islands’ airspace


HONIARA,Solomon Islands (eTN) – The Solomon Islands Tourism Industry Association (SITIA) has expressed its congratulations to Pacific Blue on its inaugural flight to Honiara from Brisbane last week.

Pacific Blue is the newest additional to the number of airlines serving the Brisbane-Honiara route over the past years.

Speaking at a reception after the inaugural flight landed at Honiara International Airport, SITIA Chairman Wilson Maelaua said the tourism sector in Solomon Islands welcomed the initiative giving travelers additional choice on airline travel to Solomon Islands.

Mr. Maelaua said SITIA supports the call by the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau chairman Sir Thomas Chan for the government to support the tourism sector in Solomon Islands. He added that having an open sky policy will boost visitor numbers to the country and tourism development as a whole.

Mr. Maelaua, on behalf of SITIA, applauded all the other airlines and carriers currently flying to Honiara and encouraged the national carrier, Solomon Airlines, to take up the challenge of competition.

Meanwhile, Solomon Islands is eyeing tourism as one of its main foreign revenue earners within the next few years. This week the country’s national parliament is debating its 2009 national budget, of which big increases have been given to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism with targeted capital projects to boost tourism.

Finance Minister Snyder Rini told parliament that Solomon Islands dependency on log exports for its foreign revenue is coming to a close. As a result, the government is looking at tourism, mining, agriculture and fisheries as the likely main foreign revenue earners for Solomon Islands.