Ming made this profound statement when he delivered his remarks at the 2021 Tourism in Focus on Friday in Honiara.
“First of all, please allow me to extend sincere congratulations to the event and wish the summit a complete success.
“The topic of today’s (yesterday) event “Redefine, Readjust and Realign” is well chosen and up to the point.
“As we know, the global economy was hit hard by the pandemic of COVID-19 in the past year, and tourism, as the major driving engine of the economy in many countries, is one of the sectors that received the worst negative impact,” he said.
Ming added that it is estimated that the global tourism industry output has decreased by 60 to 80 percent in the past year.
“Today’s event demonstrates the resolve and determination of Solomon Islands government and industries to overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic and recover the SI economy.
“It is a good opportunity to put together valuable thoughts, experience, wisdom, and strength from all participants,” Ming said.
Meanwhile, on the potential of tourism cooperation between China and the Solomon Islands Ming said China has been a major source of tourists for many countries before the pandemic.
“Not only the number of Chinese tourists is impressive, but also the consumption power.
“There is a saying in China, “Chinese people usually save every cent at home but spend every dollar on the way as tourists,” Ming said.
In 2019, Ming highlighted that the total number of cross-border Chinese tourists reached 155 million，with a total consumption of 133.8 billion US dollars, creating huge revenues for tourism destination countries.
He further added that in recent years, Chinese tourists are becoming increasingly interested in visiting Pacific Island countries, including Solomon Islands.
Ming said that as an important outcome of Prime Minister Sogavare’s official visit to China in September 2019, the Chinese government formally announced SI is listed as an approved destination for a group tour, which laid the very foundation for further cooperation.
“The two countries are now working together on the implementation plans, including civil aviation agreement, visa facilitation, and other arrangements.
“By working together, we hope to attract more Chinese tourists to Solomon Islands after the pandemic and I would like to share some thoughts here for our future cooperation,” he added.
By ANDREW FANASIA