11 March, 2019, Honiara, Solomon Islands – As efforts continue to stem oil flowing from a grounded bulk carrier on Rennell Island, Tourism Solomons has stressed the situation has not in any way impacted on the destination’s main tourism corridors or the country’ ability to manage its international visitors.
Tourism Solomons CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said while he did not want to be seen to be downplaying the situation, Rennell Island lies close on 250 kilometres (152 miles) away from the nearest main dive location – the Florida and Russell Islands – and this area was not under threat from the oil spill.
The destination’s other main dive sites – on Guadalcanal and in Munda and Gizo, both in the Western Province – are similarly unaffected.
The same applied, he said, to the destination’s key fishing and surfing locations, all of which lie hundreds of kilometres from Rennell Island’s location at the southernmost tip of the Solomon Islands archipelago.
“The implication is that our entire country is awash with oil and this is simply not the case,” Mr Tuamoto said.
“The best thing our international visitors can do to help the people of Rennell Island, and by extension the people of the Solomon Islands who are so dependent on tourism, is to keep their travel plans on track.
“I can assure they will receive an even warmer welcome than usual!”.
Meanwhile the operation to salvage the grounded Solomon Trader has been boosted by the arrival of UK and US oil spill containment specialists joining the Australian and New Zealand experts who arrived on the scene last week.
Containment booms are now in place to hold the oil already spilled and plans are underway to extract the remaining oil on board the ship.