As part of the Pacific Games preparations, the Solomon Islands Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) has been tasked with improving tourism attractions around Honiara, in particular the beaches in West Guadalcanal.

These beaches are important tourism assets with huge, largely untapped potential. They are also very important to Honiara residents, as one of the few recreational areas available to the public.

In early 2023 MCT conducted a site survey of all beach operations in West Guadalcanal. The survey also included an in-depth interview with the beach operators. 41 beach operations were identified, including 6 that also offers accommodation. Out of those operations 27% were found to have acceptable facilities. At the majority of beaches facilities are either non-existent or in a very poor state.

Despite the poor state of the beaches, they are a major contributor to the local economy in West Guadalcanal.

Domestic tourist spends an estimated 713,600 SBD per month on entrance fees, accommodation and other services. This adds up to 8.5 million SBD per year, the equivalent of 530 full time jobs (based on SI minimum salary).

In conjunction with the site survey, a visitor survey was also conducted. 193 regular beach visitors participated and provided detailed feedback on their experiences.

By analyzing these surveys MCT was able to identify the key issues that is limiting domestic tourism in the region:

  • Facilities – dilapidated or nonexistent, particularly the lack of toilets and running water.
  • Safety – theft, harassment, roadblocks, drunk and disorderly behavior.
  • Environment – poor waste management, lack of infrastructure to manage waste.
  • Services – nonexistent services and low level of hospitality.
  • Access – Rapidly deteriorating roads.

MCT will address some of those issues through community awareness, training of operators, funding of facility upgrades and waste management capability.

The issues of safety and access are overarching issues for the whole region.

MCT is currently mobilizing and coordinating relevant stakeholders to address these issues.


Source: Press Release, Ministry of Culture and Tourism