THE region’s tourism organisation has hailed the milestone agreement by two friendly neighbouring Pacific nations to resume air services, a positive development in the tourism industry of both nations.
South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) Chief Executive Officer Ilisoni Vuidreketi said the agreement reached this week between the Governments of Fiji and the Solomon Islands could not have been timelier, as we embark on a new year.
Mr Vuidreketi applauded the two Governments for the decision that will enable travelers to once again enjoy cheaper and ready access by air.
“As a regional tourism body, we welcome this move which is very much in line with our mandate to market our 16 member countries, including Fiji and Solomon Islands, and develop higher quality offerings to our visitors.
“By the same token, tourism is a major economic player in both nations and families depend on the industry for their livelihood,” he said in a statement.
“The agreement is also important for Fiji and Solomon Island nationals who are employed in regional and national offices in these countries, in addition to the thousands of Pacific Island students attending the University of the South Pacific.”
Officials of the two governments met in Suva last week and agreed to immediately lift the suspension of air services to facilitate the provision of air services by Fiji Airways and Solomon Airlines.
In August last year, the SPTO was amongst the first of regional organisations to call for an amicable solution for the sake of communities in the Solomon Islands whose livelihoods depended on tourism.
Mr Vuidreketi said an assessment on the effects of the impasse has yet to be conducted.