Honiara, Solomon Islands, 26 June 2019 – The Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) is pleased to announce the first Solomon Islands accommodation providers to achieve ‘Minimum Standards Accreditation’. Minimum Standards is a system used worldwide by governments and tourism industry organisations to ensure that the tourism sector maintains internationally-recognised standards of quality. The program has been specially developed by the Ministry through considerable research and stakeholder workshops throughout the country.
The Ministry will be awarding ‘Minimum Standards Accreditation’ in a formal ceremony at the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara on 28 June 2019. Each of the accommodation providers attending have worked to meet the Minimum Standards criteria and represent some of the highest levels of services and facilities available in the Solomon Islands.
These accommodation establishments were visited and assessed by a specialist team from MCT’s Tourism Division. The team has already assessed ninety eight tourism accommodation establishments and will continue to visit more than 280 providers across the Solomon Islands. The Minimum Standards team also spend considerable time consulting with people who wish to open accommodation; advising them on how the Minimum Standards can be used as a guideline when building and promoting their businesses.
MCT Permanent Secretary Andrew Nihopara said “I am proud of my team which has visited providers and supported them with knowledge of how to improve services and facilities to better meet guest expectations. Accommodation providers are vital to helping the Solomon Islands attract tourists, create jobs and generate income. This is important now, more than ever, because tourism and ecotourism is stepping up to fill the gap left by the declining logging industry.”
During their visits, MCT staff assess establishments based on the type of accommodation the establishment wants to provide. In the Solomon Islands, establishments can choose to be assessed as a Hotel, Resort, Motel, Budget Accommodation, Tourist Bungalow, Ecolodge, Serviced Apartment or Homestay.
Each accommodation category reflects a different standard of service. For example, the standards of a Hotel or a Resort should be higher than that of a budget-type accommodation such as a Guesthouse or Homestay. For this reason, the criteria for Hotels are more stringent than that of budget-type accommodation.
For all accommodation providers, the Standards cover important areas such as: Guest Rooms and Bathrooms; Emergency, Safety and Security; Legal requirements; Business Operations; Front Office and Lobby; Kitchen, Restaurant and Bar; Guest Services; Building, Grounds and Maintenance; and Environmental Management.
The Minimum Standards Program is one of the key programs currently carried out by MCT and is supported by the Australian Government, the Australian Government initiative Strongim Bisnis, Enhanced Integrated Framework Program (EIF) and the Australian Volunteers International program.
The Standards help promote and encourage tourism in the Solomon Islands by formalising accommodation categories and ensuring that accommodation providers fit those categories properly. By formalising categories and aligning them with internationally-recognised standards, the Solomon Islands can better market and sell its accommodation to the overseas market and increase trust with tourists and travel agents before they make bookings.