Just three months after the Solomon Islands reopened its border on 01 July after an 800-day lockdown, official visitor arrival (VA) numbers for Q3 2022 show the destination has got off to a far better than expected result.
The figures, released by the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office (SINSO), show a total of 2481 international visitors travelled to the destination between 01 July and 30 September 2022.
Once again Australians made up the bulk of the numbers with the 1038 figure recorded comprising 41.8 percent of the total intake for the period.
Acting CEO & Head of Corporate Services, Dagnal Dereveke said he was sure some might see the 2481 total number as representing a drop of almost 68 percent.
“But when you look at our VA count which we started from ZERO on 01 July, 2022, this is a fantastic outcome for the country’s tourism sector, what you might call a real ‘glass half full’ scenario,” Mr Dereveke said.
Mr Dereveke said visitor arrivals from the Solomon Islands other key source markets – the US, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji – while still slow, had shown month on month improvement across the quarter.
Prior to the pandemic, the Solomon Islands was hosting some 29,000 international visitors annually with Australian traffic constituting around 45 per cent of the total and total visitation growth annually ranging between 7-10 percent.
“Our primary focus is to regain those Australian numbers as quickly as possible,” Mr Dereveke said.
“We know we have a long way to go before we regain our pre-COVID numbers.
“But we are very cautiously confident and with continuing effort, good marketing and profile rebuild we can get back to where we were before the pandemic in relatively short time.”