Figures released by the Solomon Islands National
Statistics Office (SINSO) show a total of 25,709 international
visitors travelled to the Solomon Islands in 2017, a 10.9% increase over the 23,192 recorded for 2016.
Australian visitor arrivals continue to
dominate, the 10,161 number recorded accounting for 39.52%
of all arrivals.
New Zealand (1,694 arrivals / 6.58% of
total) and the USA (1,622 arrivals / 6.30% of total) came in
respective second and third in terms of most important source
markets with Fiji (1,651 arrivals / 6.26% of total) and Papua
New Guinea (1,487 arrivals / 5.70% of total) in fourth and
fifth position, respectively.
The biggest surprise came from mainland Chinese
visitation, albeit off a small base which increased by 47.1% to reach 1,215 (4.7% of total).
Acknowledging what he described as a “very hard
worked for result”, Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) CEO,
Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said the destination still needs to maintain
strong focus on growing the leisure market, currently sitting on
around 35% of overall
“We know our weaknesses and we recognise our
challenges and we use these as a strength in terms of our
international PR activity and online platform utilisation,” Mr
Tuamoto said. “Our disruptive approach in 2018 will see a shift
from our traditional base of wholesale to pursue with vigour the
retail space – and we have already seen results of this in 2017
and we will look to enhance this in 2018. We are confident, with
government and local industry support, this can readily be
achieved. But we also need to see an increase in the country’s
accommodation infrastructure, and particularly in Honiara where we
see huge potential from the MICE sector and related business
traffic. There is a recognised need for more resources and
investment to tap into and grow this area of the business.”
New accommodation inventory in 2017 included the
Coral Sea Resort & Casino in Honiara and Ginger Beach Resort a
short drive from the capital.
Development of the extremely lucrative cruise
sector remains a key focal area of the strategy and one which the
Ministry of Culture & Tourism and the SIVB have aggressively
developed in partnership with Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises.