Tourism operators on Malaita have expressed their frustration over the inefficiency of transportation services to Auki and around the island that negatively affects their business operations.
Owner and operator of Busu tourism in the heart of Langa Langa lagoon said transportation difficulties faced by the province today has made it so difficult for visitors to visit them.
“Currently we have no visitors to our home stays due to the problem with transport services to the island which is so unreliable and inefficient. Making it so difficult for visitors who wish to come but decide to cancel their booking and go somewhere else,” Thomas Dakero said.
Mr Dakero said the closure of Gwonaru’u airport and the problem with shipping services that served the Honiara-Auki route has denied them the benefits and growth of their business.
He said the provincial government and the national government seem to overlook this problem which affects not only them but also other business houses who wish to promote and grow their business on Malaita.
“Relevant authorities do not think seriously about the transportation difficulties to the province which puts a lot of pressure on business house and more so tourism operators who depend very much on visitors for their earnings.
“Visitors do not want to travel on crowded boats or slow boats. They want to either fly over or travel by fast crafts and also to travel in comfort,” Dakero said.
Owner of Sarah’s Hideaway Ms Sarah Kay has also expressed similar sentiments.
She said this year is the worst year ever in her business because there is hardly a visitor visiting her hideaway.
“Although we received bookings, when it comes to the days before their travel, these visitors will cancel their trip due to transport problems. And as a result we are going without visitors and this does affects our business big time,” Ms Kay said.
She urged the ministry of tourism, the provincial government and national government to quickly solve this problem because it is causing a hell lot of problems especially when local operators like them depends very much on visitors for their income.
“How can we provide the services and promote ourselves when authorities never assisted us and try to solve transportation problems now affecting us today. Malaita cannot grow its tourism sector if infrastructure and transportation services are at its worst stage,” Ms Kay added.
BY DANIEL NAMOSUAIA