SOLOMON Islands has great potential for tourism but the country is till to realise its full potential.
These are the words of Minister of Culture and Tourism Samuel Manetoali during the opening of the 2014 Tourism Forum held at the Heritage Park Hotel last Friday.
Mr Manetoali said the challenges Solomon Islands faced have become the impediments to the country’s development efforts.
Therefore, he urged participants to discuss the important issues relating to tourism development in Solomon Islands and seek answers to the following questions:
· How do we unlock these challenges and work towards a positive outcome?
· How do we rethink the way we do things?
· What are the impediments to our efforts and how do we resolve the challenge?
Apart from these questions, Mr Manetoali said there are other thought provoking issues that need to be addressed in the forum.
“I call on all of you to discuss these issues in a constructive, collaborative and frank manner so that we can come up with pragmatic and practical tourism strategies that should address the challenges,” the minister said.
He said tourism is a gold mine and a vital economic sector for a nation like Solomon Islands.
“Tourism benefits go beyond the spheres of an economy,” he said.
The minister said in Solomon Islands tourism is a growing and the government has placed great emphasis in developing this sector.
The one day forum was attended by tourism operators, stakeholders and representatives from the government.
Mr Manetoali said the presence of the public and private sector representatives in the forum would enable participants to forge the best action plan for the country’s tourism industry.
“The strategies you design should be inclusive and relevant to Solomon Islands and this is the way we want this nation to pursue our tourism development goals,” the minister told participants.
“We have come this far and it is time we take a step change to see a more tangible benefit achieved through our concerted efforts.”
The minister thanked sponsors of the one day programme and urged participants to find constructive resolutions to pave the way for tourism development in Solomon Islands.
By SOLOMON LOFANA