The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is seeking an additional $5 million to help finance plans to boost cruise ship visits to Gizo in Western Province.
Permanent Secretary Andrew Nihopara and under-secretary Moses Tepai explained this to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last week.
PAC is conducting hearing into a supplementary appropriation bill the government has brought before parliament, seeking additional funds for public spending.
Nihopara told PAC that they need this $5million to improve the infrastructures that will attract increasing number of cruise ships into the country.
He revealed the ministry has already put in place strategies that will pave the way for construction of infrastructures that tourists would enjoy when visiting the country.
Nihopara said cruise ships come with 1000 to 2000 people and the increase of these big ships visiting our shores demands huge development in our infrastructures to keep driving the positive trend.
He also said this approach by the ministry to promote cruise ship visits will help resource owners and local people earn some tourism dollar.
Nihopara pointed out that issues like lack of navigational information and hydrographical data about potential tourist destinations are problems the ministry is working tirelessly on to address.
He added the $5 million requested to support cruise ship visits to Gizo will definitely boost infrastructure development on the ground.
By AATAI JOHN