TOURISM operators throughout the country are anticipating a better year next year in terms of visitor arrivals.
Speaking after reports that the industry is picking up and is expecting over 12 cruise visits next year, a local tourism operator Gregory Para said it is a testimony that Solomon Islands is slowly picking up in terms of tourist visits.
“Although cruise ships only made brief stop-overs, it sets a foundation whereby more people will visit later to stay longer,” Mr Para said.
He said many local operators are happy with the trend and want to see it improved further.
“The cruise boats brings tourist to take a glimpse of our beautiful country, after which they can return and or market us to their friends.”
The Solomon Islands Cruise Ship Industry confirmed that the sector is picking up momentum with 12 cruise ships due to arrive in the country next year.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Andrew Nihopara earlier told the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) it is crucial for large cruise ships to visit Solomon Islands because it will mean more foreign currency will be brought into the local economy.
This year, a number of tourist boats visited the country and extended their leg of visits to the provinces.
By EDNAL PALMER