By JENNY KUSAPA
THE poor state of Provincial airstrips is a major problem tourism operators face in the country.
Mereoni Adimaisau of Tavanipupu Island Resort at Marau shared her experience of losing revenue due to flight cancellation and also bad weather.
“The airstrip at Marau is a problem because if it’s wet the plane can’t land,” Adimaisau said.
Marau is the airfield serving Tavanipupu and the communities of east Guadalcaal.
Adimaisau said the loss of revenue affects those in remote areas.
Meanwhile, Joyce Konofilia, the National Consultant and Advisor in the Policy and Implementation unit of the Prime Minister’s Office, said the Government is serious with its efforts to improve the Tourism industry in the country and there are plans in place to help develop the industry.
She said in terms of improving infrastructure like the provincial airstrips, the government is working on it and have been visiting certain provinces already to upgrade the domestic airports.
“Inside the policy unit we have different sectors and the productive sector we have the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Aviation, Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Lands, the reason they put us together is because of the cross-sectoral issues that affect the development of tourism,” Konofilia explained.
Timothy Lawther of Strongim Business also said access is key to make tourism work in Solomon Island.
Minister of Finance and Treasury Harry Kuma during the launch of the new roads and aviation project last year also highlighted that more effective air links between provinces and with the rest of the world is important for Solomon Islands to take advantage of tourism opportunities.
He added airports are also a window to markets, services and jobs throughout the region and around the world.
The airport upgrades, along with the road networks present great opportunities for the people and the economy of Solomon Islands.
This article was produced from the “Economics of Tourism” training for journalists in Honiara funded by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) in partnership with Strongim Bisnis