Friday, 24 September 2010 10:27 AM

Country Fails to Capitalize on "The Pacific" Popularity

It is sad to read about the opportunity our nation lost interms of promoting our destination to WW2 market segment.

The "Pacific" film which now won the EMMY award without Solomon Islands in it is very regretable. Solomon Islands has alot to offer the world when comes to WW2 heritage.

Looking through our Tourism website: www.visitsolomons.com.sb the WW2 information are there but shallow. It needs to go beyond information of places to visit, to also include some historical archives of the WW2 campaign on Guadalcanal and other parts of the country. WW2 films such as Guadalcanal campaign film which I watched it once should be included too to get more attention from the outside world of our sites once covered with bloodshed of WW2-a turnnig point for the WW2 in the Pacific.

Some WW2 events can be done locally to attract international visitors in our country. Such events can be made annually in our calendar. I like the ANZAC day event to remember the fallen soldiers in Australia and New Zealand now becoming popular even in the Solomon Islands. Such events not only to pay tribute but to boost our marketing efforts to WW2 niche market.

Our National Museum needs a face lift in terms of WW2 relics promotion. It needs to promote itself to the outside world rather than waiting for potential visitors to enter its doors. It comes back to the point of partnership among different departments under Ministry of Tourism and Culture. SIVB should dedicate a web page for the National Museum to regularly update its information on WW2 and at the sametime organizing its own promotional events like National Museum open day to attract visitors locally and internationally.

I like the initiative from an individual to erect a statue of a coastwatcher at Point Cruz. Why not put such thing in our Museum compund to attract WW2 visitors to our National Musuem.

If not build a separate museum within the compound and dedicate it to the WW2 relics, statues, archives, and multimedia presentations. This can attract both local researchers and international visitors to our museum.

People might ask why I suggest a priority be put on WW2 in our museum. The Guadalcanal Campaign during WW2 has branded SI as a top WW2 destination in our region. I chatted to a Swiss national who visited Honiara last year when I was his guide to WW2 sites around Honiara. He said he knew Guadalcanal before Solomon Islands. He learnt about it at class 2 when his class covered WW2 topics. To his amaze when he read about an unidentified fallen soldier located at the center of the American War Memorial at Skyline. This piece of history according to him is very important to learn from because there are certain treaties the dead soldiers must be identified through identification things(commonly through neck tags) as required.

In turn, the National Museum and Cutlure department can support the SIVB/Ministry of Toursm with relevant information.

Under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, such important marketing mechanisms through film documentary with internationally recognized figures, our relevant authorities can create partnership with them to shot on the actual places of the WW2 campaign in the Solomon Islands.

If US is our potential niche, well, start to turn our attention to that.

I hope if such relevant departments worked together from the start, might some parts of the film (Pacific) could be shot on Guadalcanal rather than Australia. Then we could get some money from that part to boost our economy and visitors.

But it is not late. We can work on such suggestions to pull the potential growing US visitors to our shores.

Smol ting ting blong mi nomoa ia...

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Niniu Oligao and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

Other Letters to the Editor All Letters
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province
By JAQUE FRIEDMAN New Zealand