Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) welcomes the announcement of the first Solomon Islands accommodation providers to achieve ‘Minimum Standards Accreditation’, which the Chamber sees as a boost to the local tourism industry.
SICCI, as the peak body representing private sector in the Solomon Islands, sees this as contributing to its advocacy agenda of development of new sectors particularly the tourism sector as an important pathway for economic growth.
“Solomon Islands is considered to have world class tourism potential and as a Chamber we are committed to working in partnership with relevant stakeholders to realise this potential which will provide a more sustainable source of growth with a positive ripple effect,” Ms Atenasi Ata, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SICCI, said.
The SICC CEO said focusing on growing this sector as a coordinated group of stakeholders will see the impacts felt across the country and especially in getting vital cash into the rural communities.
“The industry can be a catalyst for concerted efforts in infrastructure development, creating much needed employment, associated industry upskilling further stimulation of supply chains whether in food or services, and increased technology uptake with enhanced capabilities coming from the new internet cable project.
“These are important interlinkages and potential positive impacts that make tourism a no-brainer investment by all partners,” she said.
Ms Ata reiterated the fact that the tourism sector can help drive and shape the future of our economy as Solomon Islands anticipates a slowdown in the forestry industry.
Meanwhile, the Chamber commended the accommodation providers who have achieved Minimum Standard Accreditation. This it understands to be a system used worldwide by government and tourism industry organizations to ensure that the tourism sector maintains consistency in internationally-recognized standards of quality.
Four of the five local accommodation providers who have received accreditation namely SINPF Hibiscus Apartments, Heritage Park Hotel, Coral Sea Resort and Papatura Island Retreat are members of SICCI.
“The awarding last week is an important symbolic and a step in the right direction. The Chamber is encouraged that all providers across the country will be supported in this same way, because meeting international standards is vital for successful tourism development.
“This positive development will go a long way in attracting visitors to Solomon Islands from diverse markets who stay longer, spend more and support the local economy,” SICCI CEO, Ms Ata, said.
“In addition, SICCI views its engagement with Government and relevant ministries as critical to improving the business environment and, on this note, would like to also commend the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT), particularly the Tourism Division, who have visited accommodation providers and supported them with knowledge on how to improve services and facilities to meet guests’ expectations.”
The Minimum Standards Program is one of several key programs currently being carried out by MCT, supported by Australian Government-initiative ‘Strongim Bisnis’, Enhanced Integrated Framework Program (EIF) and the Australian Volunteers International program.
As part of the Minimum Standards procedure, MCT staff assess establishments based on the type of accommodation the establishment wants to provide. Establishments can choose to be assessed as a Hotel, Resort, Motel, Budget Accommodation, Tourist Bungalow, Ecolodge, Serviced Apartment or Homestay.
For all accommodation providers, the standards cover important areas such as: Guest Rooms and Bathrooms; Emergency, Safety and Security; Legal requirements; Business Operations; Front Office and Lobby; Kitchen, Restaurant and Bar; Guest Services; Building, Grounds and Maintenance; and Environmental Management.