Tourism Solomons CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto has applauded the Solomon Islands Ministry of Culture & Tourism’s (MCT) move to introduce a Minimum Standards and Classification for Tourism Accommodation program.
Describing the move as “a major step in the right direction” for the destination’s tourism industry, CEO Tuamoto said the release of the program was timely in view of the efforts the Solomon Islands has gone to in recent times to increase its profile on the international tourism stage.
“This long-awaited but carefully laid out program will act as a catalyst for the local tourism accommodation sector to take a holistic approach to service excellence,” he said.
“It’s definitely a major step in the right direction for the destination’s tourism industry.”
Officially launched by the Minister for Culture & Tourism, the Hon. Bartholomew Parapolo at Honiara’s Heritage Park Hotel, the main thrust behind the program is to implement what is seen as an essential improvement of standards in the tourism accommodation sector.
The Minimum Standards are a set of measurable criteria that outline items and services that must be in place for a tourism accommodation to operate according to internationally recognised standards.
Accommodation providers will be classified into one of eight categories.
Currently there are 160 accommodation providers operating in the Solomon Islands but only about 10 per cent of these can currently be sold by international wholesalers offering Solomon Islands travel packages.
MCT Director of Tourism, Bunyan Sivoro said while Increased tourism was in the national interest, the main benefactors would eventually be the tourism operators themselves.
“We in the tourism department look forward to this exciting new chapter in the development of our tourisms sector,” he said.
Paying tribute to the Minimum Standards Working Committee chaired by MCT Deputy Director of Tourism, Ms Savita Nandan, for its efforts in bringing the program to fruition, Mr Sivoro also recognised both the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF)* which contributed financial assistance to the project.
Special thanks were given to Australian Volunteer International’s (AVI) Bjorn Svensson who, with DFAT funding, provided the technical input and guidance in finalising the Minimum Standards document in addition to training and inducting countless tourism industry staffers into the program.
*The Geneva, Switzerland-based Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Assistance for the Least Developed Countries (EIF) is a global development program with the objective of supporting least developed countries (LDCs) to better integrate into the global trading system and to make trade a driver for development