The Solomon Islands National Government last Saturday has pledged a total of $2 million dollars to assist Western Province prepare a satellite venue in Gizo for the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in July.

Minister for Culture and Tourism Samuel Manetoali has announced the pledge on Saturday during the launch of the Western Province Festival of Arts Fundraising in Honiara.

Speaking during the event at Jina's Restaurant, Minister Manetoali said the national government has made a huge commitment to provincial governments that host satellite venues for the festival.

Western Provincial capital, Gizo has been identified lately by the National Organising Committee to host a satellite venue.

Prior to that, the Western Provincial Government has organised its own fundraising efforts in Gizo to raise money for their ground preparations.

The initiative has been welcomed by the National Government and as a gesture of appreciation; Minister Manetoali praised Western Province for its efforts to raise funds.

"I am so pleased to see the initiative made by Western Province in organising this fundraising drive because the funds we allocate may not be sufficient to host all of our friends and the fundraising effort is a manifestation of the Western Provincial Government's commitment to see this event a success," Minister Manetoali said.

Manetoali said Western Province is the tourist hub of Solomon Islands and it is indeed important that the visiting delegates get as taste of what the local tourism industry can offer.

Manetoali also called on business houses and the private sector to help Western Province raise funds to host regional delegates in Gizo for two weeks of arts and cultural showcase.

The selection of Gizo as a satellite venue for the festival was done to ensure delegates also share the unique cultures of the pacific with the rural population of western province.

Besides Gizo, Auki in Malaita, Tulagi in Central Province and Doma in Guadalcanal have been selected to host satellite venues.

Western Premier George Solingi Lilo, Senior Officials, business representatives and individuals, attended the fundraising drive last Saturday.

All proceeds from the fundraising will be announced at a later date.

Source: Press Release, FOPA Committee