Honiara, Solomon Islands – In what represents a significant opportunity for the Solomon Islands dive industry and tourism in general, the destination will next week welcome more than 100 members of the South Pacific Underwater Medical Society (SPUMS) for the organisation’s Annual Scientific Meeting and Conference.
SPUMS is acknowledged around the world as the peak body for doctors specialising in hyperbaric medicine – the medicine used in SCUBA diving and also accelerated healing and plastic surgery.
The main event is being held from 20 – 26 May 2019 at the Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel in Honiara. Delegates are also staying at the Heritage Park Hotel and the Coral Seas Resort & Casino.
As part of the conference schedule, morning sessions will see delegates visiting the best dive sites in Honiara and Tulagi while afternoons will be spent attending the Annual Scientific Meeting sessions.
Diving at the conference is being coordinated by Australian dive travel specialist-Diveplanit Travel with the assistance and resources of Tulagi Dive, Raiders Hotel & Dive, Dive Munda, Dive Gizo and Bilikiki Cruises, each of which is providing dive guides, additional SCUBA tanks and other logistical support required for such a large group.
Diveplanit Travel has also reached out to a host of local organisations, all of which have been happy to provide additional resources.
These include Tourism Solomons, Solomon Airlines, Travel Solomons, Our Telekom and the Heritage Park Hotel.
The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force has also stepped in to assist with filling the 160 SCUBA tanks required daily for the conference dive sessions.
In addition to diving in Honiara, 30 or so delegates will extend their time in the Solomon Islands on pre and post conference programs visiting other dive rich areas including Tulagi, Munda, Gizo and Uepi Island.
The huge logistical effort required to ensure the event passes successfully is being managed directly by the Diveplanit Travel team’s Simon Mallender and Deborah Dickson-Smith.
Describing the planning behind the event as a “mammoth task”, Mr Mallender acknowledged the tremendous support received from the Minister for Tourism & Culture and Tourism Solomons.
“All in all this is an excellent opportunity for the Solomon Islands to showcase just how a small Pacific nation can host a conference of 100-plus people and offer great diving at the same time,” he said.
“Local dive operators will benefit directly from income generated by the conference, and indirectly from the continued efforts of Tourism Solomons and Diveplanit Travel to promote the Solomon Islands as having the best diving in the Pacific and, in the process, help local dive operators slowly but surely grow their operations.”
Tourism Solomons CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto, said that with tourism – and particularly dive tourism – growing in importance as a key economical driver for the Solomon Islands, the opportunity to host the SPUMS event and showcase the country’s world-class diving represented a huge opportunity for the country.
“International divers make up a large percentage of the 30,000-odd international visitors we host every year and the positive feedback we know will emanate from our staging of this event will undoubtedly create major awareness of our dive capability within the international dive community,” he said.