A CHINESE business group has expressed interest to invest in tourism here and facelift the city.
China’s Skyline Business Council has promised to rehabilitate the Honiara International Airport and the road from the airport to the city should it be given the green light to invest in the local tourism sector.
Officials from the Group made vow when they met with the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in Honiara.
The council’s Joint Group Chair, Jason Liu Tao and two other members of the council paid a courtesy visit to the PM yesterday.
During the brief meeting they gave Mr Sogavare a brief outline of their investment proposals for Solomon Islands.
Mr Tao and his delegation are part of a bigger group of investors from the Skyline Business Council who are visiting Solomon Islands to look at investment opportunities.
He said the Skyline Business Council is headquartered in Zhejiang, the most industrious region of China, and is expanding its business operation to the Pacific region.
“We are a group of private investors and do not represent the government of China,” Mr Tao said.
“We have established ourselves in Samoa and we also have business interests in the Fiji Islands.”
In Fiji they planned to invest in solar energy.
Mr Tao said:
“This is the best time to enter Solomon Islands for investment.
“We will rehabilitate the international airport and the road from the airport to the city.
“Giving a facelift to the Honiara International Airport which is the gateway into Solomon Islands will flock in more tourists.”
He told the prime minister the country has great investment potential in the tourism sector and with Skyline Business Council’s rich network of business connections internationally, the council’s investments in Solomon Islands will guarantee more job opportunities and an improved economy.
“Solomon Islands is a golden city for investment,” Mr Tao continued.
“The Business Council will invest in the golden city to improve the wellbeing of everyone in the country through the creation of more employment opportunities and reinvigoration of the economy.”
Mr Tao said his delegation is amazed at the many investment opportunities in Solomon Islands and is arranging for a further trip for 21 more of its members.
In response, Prime Minister Sogavare acknowledged the high level of interest shown by the Skyline Business Council to invest here.
He said the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government is looking at bringing in more foreign investors into Solomon Islands in its bid to improve the economy and create more employment opportunities for Solomon Islanders.
Mr Sogavare said one of the strategic measures it will be taking to attract more foreign investment is the introduction of a Special Economic Zone Legislation in the next sitting of Parliament in July.
“The free economic zones to be created as a result of this proposed legislation would carry investment incentives such as tax holidays, duty exemptions and so on,” he said.
“These incentives would be packaged according to each sector or industry.
“This would give the investor the opportunity to select from a regiment of investment packages in line with his/her company’s activities.”
In terms of tourism, the Prime Minister said Solomon Islands has great potential in this sector.
“We have Lake Tegano which is the biggest lake in the Pacific, we have the Iron Bottom Sound which is an underwater museum of World War 2 shipwrecks, we have Marovo Lagoon which is the longest lagoon in the world and we have Guadalcanal Island which is the turning point of World War 2.”