Rounding out another positive 12 months for the
Solomon Islands’ tourism fortunes, international visitation for
the period January – December 2016 has surpassed set targets for
the second year running.
Figures released this week by the Solomon
Islands National Statistics Office show the destination received a
total of 23,192 international visitors for the 12-month period – a
7.3% increase over the total achieved in 2015.
On an individual country basis, Australian
visitor arrivals again led the way, the 9539 total recorded for
the period slightly increasing by 0.3% to account for 41.1% of the
New Zealand more than cemented the number two
spot, a 1544 figure recorded for 2016 marking a 6.4% increase over
the 1451 Kiwis visiting in 2015.
Fiji visitor arrivals also gained – up 12.2% in
2016 – while US and Papua New Guinea arrivals again showed growth,
figures increasing by 5.4% and 2.6%, respectively.
However on a regional basis, combined Asia
figures jumped by 26.7%, a factor Solomon Islands Visitors
Bureau (SIVB) CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto attributes to the work his marketing team has
done to in the region.
“We know we have attracted very strong attention
from a dive-crazy Asian audience which has become very aware of
the superb quality of both our coral and WWII wreck diving,” Mr
Tuamoto said. “But is also very pleasing to see us continue to
make gains in our four biggest source markets – Australia, New
Zealand, the US and Papua New Guinea – which continue to perform
well. Key to everything we do is to continue to
broaden the Solomon Islands’ overseas appeal to attract a more
diverse range of visitors. The 75th anniversary of the Guadalcanal
campaign and the corresponding commemoration of the John F.Kennedy
rescue in August this year holds huge potential for us to boost
our 2017 numbers. But we know we need to continue to examine how
we do things and get them right if we are to take that quantum
leap and propel our country’s tourism fortunes into the future.”
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