Honiara, Solomon Islands – Tourism Solomons in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture & Tourism has begun the process of initiating what CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto’ describes as a five-point plan intended to a rekindle and sustain the tourism sector’s fortunes as it looks to adapt to the current – and post – COVID-19 environment.
Future planning for the tourism sector took centre stage at the National Museum in Honiara this week where the Minister for Culture & Tourism, the Hon. Bartholomew Parapolo, addressing an audience comprising the Prime Minister, the Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, ministers, members of parliament and many of the country’s senior business identities, delivered a keynote address to officially launch the ‘Iumi Tugeda’ (you and me together) campaign. the objective of which is to share a message of unity to all Solomon Islanders.
Addressing his audience, Minister Parapolo said as part of the tourism sector’s proactive approach to deal with the impact COVID-19 has had, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism had started taking the necessary steps as the country and its tourism sector begins settling into the ‘new normal’ that is shaping the way the Solomon Islands does business.
These, he said, included the development of extra care measures and standards for the destination’s hotel and resort accommodation and tour and transport operators in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
“These measures will also see a roll-out of new criteria as part of the ongoing ‘Tourism Minimum Standards Program’ (launched in 2018) and the development of new medical standards protocols for entry into the country for tourists and their baggage,” he said.
“These protocols will be applicable to visitors before they depart from their home countries through to when they leave our country with all protocols designed to ensure that any visitor’s experience in the Solomon Islands is medically managed for both visitors and tourism workers alike.”
Speaking at the event, CEO Tuamoto said the launch of the ‘Iumi Tugeda’ campaign provided a great platform for the tourism sector to highlight what it has achieved to date and is still doing as it looks to adapt to the ‘new normal’.
“Our focus, and dare I say our ethos, now is to learn to live with COVID-19,” he said.
“This fundamental reality whilst hard to accept must become our norm, and we need to accept that we will be living with COVID-19 in the daily execution of our tasks for quite some time yet.
“The platform of this initiative, and the foundation of the five-point plan currently under discussion with the ministry will be designed to focus on the tourism industry’s resilience.
“Our tourism industry has survived numerous crises over the years, but we have always emerged, and will always emerge, in better shape.”
As is tradition across the South Pacific a key component of the campaign is a song officially entitled ‘Iumi-Tugeda against COVID-19’ composed by local artists and performed for the first time at the event.
The ‘Iumi Tugeda’ clip can be viewed at the following links: