Minister for Culture & Tourism (MCT), the Hon. Bartholomew Parapolo has as of last Friday officially launched a new series of domestic travel packages aimed specifically at stimulating business for local operators struggling to stay afloat in the current environment.
An MCT intiative in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Services and the Ministry of Communication & Aviation, in close consultation with Tourism Solomons and Solomon Airlines, Minister Parapolo unveiled the ‘Iumi Tugeda Holiday Packages’ program at the ‘Lokal Tourism – Redefine, Readjust and Realign’ Tourism in Focus summit taking place at the Heritage Park Hotel.
A total of 38 operators spread across seven provinces – with a further two provinces planned as the program rolls out – have all committed to what many hope will serve as a catalyst for a pathway to increasing much needed revenue-based opportunity for the country’s severely-impacted tourism industry.
The ‘Iumi Tugeda Holiday Packages’ forms a critical component of the MCT/Tourism Solomons ‘Five Point Strategy’ launched mid-2020 aimed at boosting the country’s domestic tourism numbers.
Describing the release of the ‘Iumi Tugeda Holiday Packages’ as an integral part of the process required to rekindle and sustain the industry moving forward, Tourism Solomons CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said the ultimate goal was to see, via this pathway, the tourism sector restored to 2019 visitor arrival levels.
The 2019 figures, he said, had followed a solid five-year period of year on year growth before the advent of the pandemic.
“This really represents an excellent proposition when you take into account the combined efforts going into this initiative from all sides – from government, national tourist office, national airline, right down to the operators on the ground,” Mr Tuamoto said.
“The added benefit from this is the incentive everyone involved has to bring our tourism offering up to its best possible standard, and that includes nurturing the natural beauty of the Solomon Islands that offers such appeal to international visitors.
All this combined will ensure that when the borders do re-open, we will be in an extremely strong position to compete on the world tourism stage.”