The Business End
It is those 24,000-plus international travellers who have helped mould the financial infrastructure of Solomon Islands that thrives in the present day. The aforementioned increase in tourists, historians and business travellers entering the country from a growing number of access routes has had a profound impact on the hospitality sector in particular.
Even over the past year, the rise has been notable and thus, the hotel, lodge, resort and home stay domains are responding accordingly.
“Figures for 2016 show for the third year in a row that Solomon Islands’ international visitation increased; up 7.3 percent on 2015,” the Visitors Bureau explains. “Australian visitor arrivals led the way, accounting for 41.1 percent of overall international visitation, with New Zealand and the USA coming in as our second and third most important source markets.
"One of our biggest opportunities lies in the fact that the Solomon Islands holds a strong appeal for international travellers looking for something different"
“But we also continue to see good growth from PNG, up 2.6 percent in 2016.”
The challenge now for the businesses flourishing as a result of this visitor increase is differentiation. The attention is slowly but surely turning away from saturation, to competition. Sub-sectors such as lodges, motels and home stays are adding diversity for the different wealth statuses and preferences of visitors; but each having to retain a strong sense of Solomon Islands identity and culture.
The Visitors Bureau continues: “One of our biggest opportunities lies in the fact that the Solomon Islands holds a strong appeal for international travellers looking for something different; a unique ‘living’ culture, WWII history, diving, fishing, surfing, trekking and yachting to cover just some of the niche tourism opportunities we offer.”