Solomon Islands prime minister wants more tourists


HONIARA, Solomon Islands (eTN) – Prime Minister Derek Sikua has said his administration is aiming at bringing in 30,000 foreign tourists to the country before his government folds in 2010.

Prime Minister Sikua made the statement while visiting the Ministry of Tourism and Culture headquarters and its divisions here in the capital city Honiara last week. The visit was part of the prime minister’s tour of government ministries and their divisions.

Prime Minister Sikua said he is confident the target will be reached if the staffs of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture continue to support Tourism Minister Seth Gukuna. He added that the tourism industry has surpassed the 10,000 tourists target for 2008 and is obvious that Minister Gukuna has received great support from his ministry. According to the prime minister, the number of tourist arrivals had reached a remarkable 17,000 last year.

The prime minister said if the trend is maintained over the next twelve months, the 30,000 tourists target can be easily reached. He said the tourism industry can be developed into one of the country’s main revenue catalysts through promoting diverse cultural activities and artifacts owned by Solomon people.

Prime Minister Sikua also said that though Solomon Islands is expecting financial trouble due to the current global financial crisis, the situation will get better. According to him, Solomon Islands cannot raise the tourism dollar to the same level as neighboring Fiji, Samoa and Cook Islands but adequate revenue can be derived from an invigorated tourism industry if the tourism ministry’s staff maintain dedication and commitment.