Solomon Islands Minister of Culture and Tourism Hon. Samuel Manetoali has expressed confidence and satisfaction with preparations toward the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts next year.

A total of 27 Pacific Countries with more than 3000 participants are expected to converge into Honiara to display the diverse Arts and Cultures of the pacific under the theme "Culture in Harmony with Nature".

The biggest cultural event will take place from the 1st -14th July in Honiara alongside few other selected provincial capitals.

In a meeting with the National Organising Committee on Wednesday 15th June, Minister Manetoali was briefed on the planning process made so far since the setting up of 9 specialized sub-committees in August 2010 and the establishment of the Festival Secretariat at the beginning of this year at the National Museum Grounds.

"I am happy with the efforts and commitment that you have made so far in view of financial and technical difficulties that you have gone through since 2010, "Minister Manetoali said. "Your commitment to ensure our country host this huge event is pleasing to the government".

Minister Manetoali further pledged the National Government's ongoing commitment and support to the National Organising Committee in terms of political will and financial assistance for the Festival.

The National Organising Committee Vice Chairperson, Ms Doreen Kuper acknowledged the Government's support saying that the anticipated benefits of hosting the event will outweigh the costs involved.

She said constant meetings and communication between the government and the organizing committee is important to share ideas for the successful hosting of the festival.

The planning process for the festival has started in early 2010 after the appointment and approval by Cabinet of Board members of the National Organising Committee, chaired by senior Statesman, Sir George Lepping.

Work on major infrastructures for the festival which will include the festival village, performance venues, accommodation, public amenities and a major facelift of Honiara is expected to start at the end of this month.

A total of SB$39.5 million was allocated for preparatory work this year of which SB$13.3 million was donated by the Republic of China (ROC) and the rest from the Solomon Islands Government.

The opportunity to host this prestigious event in 2012 is a landmark for the country in terms of our international reputation and to set a platform for the future development of the cultural sector and the creative arts industry in Solomon Islands.

It can be seen as a stepping stone to create more opportunities and fostering socio-economic growth in Solomon Islands.

The magnitude of this event in terms of capacity and resources requires a budget of more than SD$100 million in view of the limited time and facilities available.
Despite this enormous cost, the National Organising Committee is committed to ensure that this huge commitment will bear legacies which will continue to serve and improve the livelihood of Solomon Islanders through arts and culture.

Source: Press Release, Festival of Arts Committee