Speaking from the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) head office in Honiara, its CEO, Mr. Josefa “Jo” Tuamoto said the impasse between the two countries airlines in place since last July had impacted strongly on international visitor arrivals – and in particular the sensitive US market – with several resorts and operators across the country advising cancellations since July as a direct result of the impasse.
So it comes as no surprise that the SIVB CEO is delighted with the decision by the Solomon Islands government and its Fijian counterpart to end the impasse.
“In a year that was always going to prove difficult for the Solomon Islands tourism aspirations when you take into account the floods in April, mid-year civil unrest and the lead up to the general election, the impasse undoubtedly can be seen as playing a further role in keeping people away from our shores,” he said.
“All factors combined, and in the face of everyone’s best efforts to counter the negativity, small wonder international visitation figures slipped into negative growth for the first time in five years.
“The impasse resolution in tandem with the new government announcing its intention to push the tourism agenda even harder bodes well as we move into 2015 and particularly from the US market which we view as potentially one of our strongest source markets going forward.