Despite the current COVID-19 scare the Governor General, Sir David Vunagi, remains optimistic about the future of tourism in Solomon Islands.

Speaking at the opening of the sitting of Parliament yesterday Sir David says that there is huge potential in the tourism sector, but plans within the National Tourism Development Strategy needs to be adequately resourced.

He says some of the challenges in the sector includes lack of support infrastructures that would enable access to high potential tourism sites.

“There is also limited high quality accommodation facilities which can cater for the leisure tourism segment.

“Lack of attractive investment incentives and unavailability of attractive sites for tourism development through investment is also a challenge,” the Governor General said.

Sir David says this limitation has contributed to high travel and logistics cost and makes it difficult to secure commitment by investors, which further exacerbates the already high business transaction cost associated with limited access to financial resources.

He added the government aims is to address these various challenges through the National the Transport core initiative which is ambitious 5 year plan years plan to connect the whole country.

Sir David says that to advance this initiative the government will work at establishing appropriate systems, policies and legislation to help bridge existing gaps and support the development of key infrastructures.

“Under the DCGA Government the policy priority for the ministries responsible is to actively engage and collaborate with relevant ministries, namely Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) and Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA) to develop tourism infrastructures and upgrade airstrip in keys tourism destinations throughout the provinces,” Sir David said.

He says the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will continue to engage with partners in the areas of infrastructures development, workable partnership mechanisms, and work at opening access to financial tourism grant schemes for Solomon Islanders.