UPDATED NATIONAL TOURISM POLICY TO FOSTER CLOSER PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN GOV’T AND OPERATORS

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PS of Mininstry of Culture and Tourism, Andrew Nihopara

By George Herming

The Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is reviewing the existing National Tourism Policy to foster greater partnerships between the Government and tourism operators throughout the country.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Andrew Nihopara made the announcement during the first-ever Tourism Open Day in Honiara organised by the Solomon Island Tourism Industry Council Friday last week.

The exciting and informative event was attended by the President and members of the SI Tourism Industry Council, Senior Government Officials, Tourism Operators and invited guests.

Celebrated on the Theme “Developing Tourism in Solomon Islands through Alliance”, the event was a demonstration of the cooperation and working together between the Government and its tourism sector partners.

“The DCC Government places high priority on the tourism sector and it is committed to be a key partner with the private sector to drive the growth of the tourism sector in our country,” Mr Nihopara said.

The updated National Tourism Policy which is soon to be launched by the Ministry highlights policy directions for close cooperation between the Government and the private sector through funding assistance to upgrade existing tourism facilities and products to international standards.

“This Policy Direction calls for a closer working relationship between all tourism stakeholders in the country and I would like to appeal to all the existing tourism operators and members of the Tourism Industry Council to work together with my Ministry and the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau as we implement the SI National Tourism Development Strategy 2015-2019,” Mr Nihopara said.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare launched the Policy in May 2015 during which he highlighted that the NTDS 2015-2019 is a strategy for growth and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has taken the lead in the implementation since its launching.Among other activities spearheaded by the Ministry is the review of the Solomon Islands Visitors Act to make it more robust and structured to support the growth of the sector.

The Ministry is also working on the National Tourism Legislation to guide and facilitate the development of the tourism sector towards becoming the key economic sector for the country.

The proposed National Tourism law is one of the key outputs that the DCC Government would like to achieve and the Ministry hopes to conduct wider consultations with tourism operators in the third quarter of 2016 before introducing the ‘Solomon Islands National Tourism Development Bill 2016’ to Parliament in early 2017.

The Open Day event was graced with cultural dances and musical entertainment witnessed by members of the public.