The Solomon Islands National University (SINU) has on Wednesday signed a milestone memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET) which will pave the way for a $747,807.02 assistance to the Institute of Tourism and Hospitality at the SINU School of Business and Management.
This assistance is part of the Solomon Islands Enhanced Integrated Framework’s (EIF) Tier two project titled Solomon Islands Tourism for Inclusive Development (SI-TIDE).
The SI-TIDE project is located within the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) and is overseen by the EIF’s National Implementation Unit (NIU) which is located within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET).
With the signing of the MOU, the EIF through MFAET will provide funding for the Institute of Tourism and Hospitality with the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) to carry out certain activities to develop much needed human resources for tourism industry in the country.
Some of the programs under the assistance are reviewing the tourism courses at the Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Collaborating with private training providers and SIG to ensure policy, funding and delivery of tertiary and work based education and training are aligned to the needs of tourism and hospitality industry and organizing Training of Trainers Programme for the Lecturers and Tutors at the Institute.
Speaking during the ceremony Permanent Secretary for MFAET Joseph Maahanua said, that the signing brings another milestone for the partnership that MFAET has forged with the key development players like the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau and now the Solomon Islands National University in developing our nation through promotion and utilization of the god gifted potential of our tourism industry.
He said that MFAET is committed through EIF program to support the Institute of Tourism and Hospitality with the core objectives of increasing the numbers of skilled Solomon Islanders in the tourism sector through this institute.
“I’m confident that these funds being transferred will be used for the intended purposes under this project to achieve the Institute of Tourism and Hospitality objectives in promoting scholarship, research, free inquiry, academic excellence, and trade competence and in this process create, disseminate, maintain, and advance knowledge and productivity by teaching, training, and other means for the welfare and needs of the communities in Solomon Islands and the region among other purposes, has been identified as one of the key implementing partners of the Project.
“And with that I’m very much hopeful that this small financial support will set a stepping stone to the endeavour of our country’s development by needed human resources development to exploit the tourism potential of the country,”Mr Maahanua said.
Meanwhile speaking on behalf of SINU, the Vice Chancellor Dr. Glynn Galo said, that the Institute of Tourism is very pleased to be involved in the EIF programme as this is the institute that will focus on developing expertise who will work in the local tourism industry.
“This signing marks the beginning of a major push to get the institute up and running and I am a proud Vice Chancellor to sign this MOU on behalf of SINU,” Dr. Galo said.
Dr. Galo also acknowledged the EIF programme for facilitating the assistance.
The EIF is a multi-donor program, which works towards a wider goal of promoting economic growth and sustainable development and helping to lift more people out of poverty. Solomon Islands joined the EIF program in 2007.
Under EIF program, a project entitled ‘Solomon Islands Tourism for Inclusive Development (SI-TIDE)’ is currently in implementation.
The project is working in the areas of human resources development; policy/legislations related to tourism sector; promote Solomon Islands as a distinct visitor’s destination in the Pacific Region and strengthen the linkages of tourism sector with the auxiliary sectors like agriculture and handicraft in a way that help create additional livelihood opportunities for the people.
Senior management of the SINU and officials from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade were present during the signing of the MOU.