THE occasion to mark Solomon Islands Tourism Industry Council (SITIC) Open Day in Honiara last week, gave the opportunity for members of the public to know some of the major tourism pledges that the government is currently working on.
Andrew Nihopara, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has highlighted these when delivering his keynote address.
Some of the pledges include the National Tourism Policy, Solomon Islands Visitors Act, National Tourism Legislation, and the Tourism Development Bill 2016.
“The updated National Tourism Policy which is soon to be launched by my Ministry highlights policy directions for close cooperation between Government and the private sector through funding assistance to upgrade existing tourism facilities and products to international standards.
“This Policy Direction calls for a closer working relationship between all tourism stakeholders in the country,” he said.
He added, the DCC Government is the first Government to demonstrate serious support and commitment to the development and promotion of the tourism sector.
“….I would like to appeal to all the existing tourism operators and members of the Tourism Industry Council to work together with my Ministry and the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau as we implement the SI National Tourism Development Strategy 2015-2019.
“This strategy is a strategy for growth and my Ministry has taken the lead in the implementation since it was launched by the Honorable Prime Minister in May 2015”.
The PS moved on to highlight that, his Ministry is also spearheading the review of the Solomon Islands Visitors Act to make it more robust and structured to support the growth of the sector.
“We are also working on the National Tourism Legislation to guide and facilitate the development of the tourism sector towards becoming the key economic sector for the country.
“The proposed National Tourism law is one of the key outputs that the DCC Government would like to achieve. The Ministry hopes to conduct wider consultations with the tourism operators in the third quarter of this year,” Mr Nihopara stated.
Meanwhile, he said the Ministry, through the Minister look forward to introduce the ‘Tourism Development Bill 2016’ to Parliament in early 2017.
“In the meantime, I will urge all the tourism operators to contribute your ideas and comments to the proposed new law when the consultations start later this year”.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA