Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Australia recently partnered with Tourism Solomons and Australian Aid initiative, Strongim Bisnis, to deliver two hugely successful Digital Tourism workshops in Honiara and Munda, Solomon Islands in July. The workshops were attended by over 28 local tourism operators.

The tourism sector is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and is recognised as an important driver of economic growth and employment opportunities for Pacific Islands nations. The way international tourists make travel decisions has changed due to the accessibility of the internet.

An increasing number of tourists use the internet as their main source of information; exploring holiday destinations, what to do and where to stay using their phone, tablet or computer with referral sites such as Trip Advisor and social sharing sites like Facebook playing an important role in the decision-making process.

PTI Australia has worked in the Pacific Islands for over 38 years and saw a gap in how local Pacific operators access the tourist market. PTI Australia developed their Digital Tourism Program and Workshops to upskill local tourism operators in the Pacific Islands with their knowledge of digital marketing; providing practical steps to help increase sales and improve profitability.

Munda workshop attendee Pana Paza, representing Titiru Eco Lodge, a family owned operation said the workshop was extremely valuable, providing practical tools to help their business.

“With the changes to logging particularly in rural areas, tourism and especially eco-tourism provides a good opportunity for us. PTI Australia’s Digital Tourism workshop was very good, we have learned a lot. By having a website you can reach overseas guests however it also important to market your website so it’s seen. I’m excited to use what I learnt such as linking to Facebook and Instagram to increase our reach and grow our business.”

PTI Australia’s General Manager Investment and Tourism, Chad Morris said it’s vital for tourism operators in Solomon Islands to have an online presence.

“The travel and tourism industry has dramatically shifted online - regardless of where you are in the world, businesses in this sector need to have an online presence to succeed. PTI Australia’s Digital Tourism Workshops are aimed at local tourism operators to assist them in understanding the importance of being online. Our Digital Tourism program also supports the development of a booking and payment capable website if local tourism operators in Solomon Islands don’t already a website already. I would like to thank Tourism Solomons and Strongim Bisnis for their on the ground support that ensured the success of the workshops. I look forward to our continued work together to support tourism in the Solomon Islands.”

PTI Australia is an agency of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and is the Pacific region’s lead export and investment facilitation agency. PTI Australia’s Digital Tourism programme was established in 2012. Through the programme over 300 websites have been built generating over A$8 million annually in online bookings for tourism operators in the Pacific Islands.

Source: PTI Australia