THE country’s tourism industry has closed off Q3 in positive mode with international visitor arrival figures for the nine-month period January – September showing a solid 4.5 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2015.
Official figures released by the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office this week show a total of 16,381 visitors arrived across the period, 706 more than the 15,675 figure achieved last year.
Australian arrivals again continued to dominate, the 6,868 September intake representing 41 per cent of all international visitation.
US arrivals also continued to increase, up 10.8 per cent from 1,039 in 2015 to reach in 1,152 in 2016.
Good growth from New Zealand with Kiwi visitor arrivals continuing their upwards climb – increasing 3.7 per cent from 1,096 in 2015 to reach 1,136 this year.
Visitor arrivals from Fiji, the Solomon Islands fourth biggest source market, stayed firm, increasing 8.8 per cent from 1,031 in 2015 to 1122 in 2016.
Collective Asian visitor arrivals also showed positive growth, the 2232 figure achieved for Q3 2016 representing a 22.4 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2015.
Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau CEO, Jo ‘Josefa’ Tuamoto attributed the increase in Asian visitation to the efforts his marketing team have gone to in recent months while attending key travel EXPOs in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
Mr Tuamoto said preliminary forward booking numbers received from both locally based Solomon Islands tour operators, hoteliers and overseas wholesalers packaging the destination all indicate the destination can look forward to a very strong Q4.