Tuesday, 20 November 2012 9:26 AM

Government Funds Eco-tourism Projects

The Government is funding Eco-tourism projects in South and Central Guadalcanal.

The resource owners of Vatukulau Ward in South Guadalcanal and Vulolo Ward in Central Guadalcanal will seek to transform the untouched forests of Popomanseu and Makara Komburu in South Guadalcanal and Suta in Central Guadalcanal into eco-tourism destinations.

The projects, which began in September this year, will be jointly implemented in three phases for three years with a funding assistance of SBD$560,000 dollars per year for each project.

The International Eco-tourism Society has defined Eco-tourism as the "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people".

"Eco-tourism is a sizable market, and in developing a policy in tourism it is important to consider these important facts," said a person familiar with the industry.

"In recent times, 23% of travel agents have booked environmentally friendly or green travel options," he said.

"Also, in a recent survey, consumers demand for responsible travel was at 58%, with most of these travelers raising concerns about global warming...13% were interested in buying carbon offsets."

He says that when one considers the fact that consumer spending by this market segment is at USD$25 billion annually, it would be important to get the policy right.

"This is not the first time we have adopted this policy, what we need to do is get the 'policy mix' right...we need to be competitive as a destination."

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