On Tuesday, Minister of Culture and Tourism (MCT) Bartholomew Parapolo and Premier of Malaita Province Daniel Suidani signed a Memorandum of Understanding for joint implementation of tourism projects and programs in Auki.
Prior to the signing of the MOU, premier Suidani expressed gratitude to the national government and said that his MARA government is committed to the MOU.
He said that Malaita Province also holds remnants and relics pertaining to the Second World War and once harnessed as a tourism attraction can be a money-spinner to the province and the locals.
“I know that there are historical sites used by Japanese and allied forces here in Malaita and it is important the ministry and Malaita Province work together to develop these sites.
“I believe one of the key things to ensure such place is accessible to tourism includes a good road system. A good road system with proper public amenities along the roads should provide the tourism market confidence and thus attract tours to the sites,” the premier said.
He encourages those who think Malaita Province does not have attractive beaches to visit the province and see for themselves all the attractive sites Malaita has on offer.
“I would encourage you to come to our islands and see for yourselves that we do have those as well,” the premier said.
He added that Malaitans are friendly people and have continued to welcome people to their shores.
He said the province is one of or the only province in the Solomon Islands that still has a few communities practicing authentic paganism.
He said these traditional ways of life are still very much alive and continued to be practiced by the people to this day.
He stated this as a clarification to issues of continuous stereotyping of Malaita people as being very unwelcoming and not friendly which hinders tourism development in the province.
“I would like to highlight an issue that sometimes hinders tourism development in this province. The issue I would like to highlight concerns the continuous stereotyping of Malaita people as being very unwelcoming and to some extend portrayed a picture of Malaita a place that is quite cruel and its people somehow not friendly.
“This picture somehow has often been used by our mainstream media and often counterproductive to tourism development in Malaita province.
“I would like to say here that Malaita Province and Malaita people welcome everyone to their people. We are friendly people and we have continued to welcome people to our shores,” he said.
By SOLOMON LOFANA
Auki News Bureau