Solomon Is­lands cruise strat egy bears fruit

Travel Bulletin - - SOLOMON ISLANDS -

Build­ing on its po­ten­tial as an ex­cit­ing new des­ti­na­tion for the in­ter­na­tional cruise mar­ket, the Solomon Is­lands will wel­come eight cruise vis­its in 2016, a 100 per cent in­crease on its 2015 cruise sched­ule.

Ves­sels vis­it­ing Ho­niara and cruising within the 992-is­land ar­chi­pel­ago this year in­clude Princess Cruises Lines’ Sea Princess and Dawn Princess, Noble Cale­do­nia’s Cale­do­nia Sky, Sil­verseas Cruises’ Sil­ver Dis­cov­erer, P&O’S Pa­cific Eden and Se­abourn Cruise Lines’ Se­abourn Odyssey.

Solomon Is­lands Visi­tors Bureau chief ex­ec­u­tive Josefa Tuamoto at­trib­uted the in­crease to the ef­forts of the na­tional tourist of­fice along with gov­ern­ment and lo­cal pri­vate sec­tor sup­port to turn what he de­scribed as a “huge po­ten­tial into a re­al­ity”.

Tuamoto also pointed to­ward a re­cent visit to Syd­ney by out­go­ing Min­istry of Cul­ture & Tourism per­ma­nent sec­re­tary, John Wasi and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Depart­ment of Tourism, the SIVB and the Solomon Is­lands Port Au­thor­ity, which he said had played a ma­jor role in the out­come.

In Syd­ney the Solomon Is­lands del­e­ga­tion met with sev­eral key cruise in­dustr y play­ers, spe­cial­ist whole­saler and re­tailer rep­re­sen­ta­tives and me­dia as part of a con­cer ted ef­for t to turn the spot­light on the Solomon Is­lands’ po­ten­tial as a cruise des­ti­na­tion.

“Tourism is fast emerg­ing as a ma­jor driver for the coun­try’s GDP, and the gov­ern­ment has em­barked on a very vig­or­ous process to seize on the op­por­tu­nity tourism presents,” said Tuamoto.

“We were de­ter­mined to turn this po­ten­tial into a hard re­al­ity and that is ex­actly what we are see­ing in 2016.”

That up­ward trend is likely to con­tinue in 2017, with Paul Gau­guin Cruises, op­er­a­tor of the highest-rated and long­est con­tin­u­ally sail­ing lux­ury cruise ship in the South Pa­cific, Paul Gau­guin, an­nounc­ing the Solomon Is­lands will be part of its pro­gram next year.

Its 16-night Fiji to Bali voy­age, de­part­ing April 29, 2017 from Lau­toka, Fiji, will in­clude the is­land of Guadal­canal in the Solomons on its itin­er­ary (as well as on the re­turn trip, de­part­ing Bali on June 7, 2017).

Pas­sen­gers on a zo­diac from No­ble Cale­do­nia’s Cale­do­nia Sky

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