In a major step forward for the future promotion and development of the Solomon Islands dive tourism sector, the destination’s main dive operators have agreed to combine resources to create a formal representative body - Dive Operators Solomon Islands (DOSI).
The move follows a recent forum in Honiara facilitated by Strongim Bisnis, an Australian government initiative working in partnership with local companies and operators to promote business growth.
All participants unanimously agreed on the need for a formal association to champion issues affecting the local dive industry in relation to the overall growth of the tourism industry.
Forum attendees included Tulagi Dive, Raiders Hotel & Dive, Driftwood Solomon Islands, Biliki Cruises, Dive Munda/Solomon Islands Dive Expeditions, Yawana Dive, Dive Gizo and Uepi Island Resort
Gizo-based Sanbis Resort and Solomon Dive Adventures are also expected to become DOSI members.
Other stakeholders taking part included the Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Tourism Solomons, Solomon Airlines, and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Representatives from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade and NZAid also attended.
Welcoming the development, Tourism CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto underlined the important role a strong, united dive operators’ association can play in helping to shape the country’s tourism future.
“This has certainly been the case in several of our neighbouring destinations where dive operators have combined resources to form industry bodies and in the process taken action in helping to propel increased international visitation numbers,” Mr Tuamoto said.
“From our perspective, tourism is ever growing in importance as a key economical driver for the Solomon Islands and with international divers making up a large percentage of the 28,000 international visitors we host every year, we need to do all possible to ensure we maximise the opportunity.
“Having a strong, uniform voice with the ability to help raise and tackle pertinent issues affecting this key sector is timely.
“This voice in synch with stakeholders will enable us jointly to drive what has the potential to act as a very powerful industry lobby.”
The Solomon Islands is renowned as one of the world’s foremost dive locations.
Just last December the Solomons Islands was named one of the world’s top 10 dive destination’s in the prestigious annual ‘Dive Travel Awards’ conducted by the world’s largest dive publication, British-based Dive Magazine UK.
In 2017 CNN Travel ranked the Solomon Islands as one of its 10 best snorkelling locations.
The destination’s 992 islands and unspoilt coral reefs literally teem with huge numbers and unique varieties of marine life.
Add to this the dozens of WWII shipwrecks and downed aircraft that litter the seabed, so much so that in one area just a short journey from the country’s capital Honiara has been renamed ‘Iron Bottom Sound."