BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’AROA
THE ongoing COVID-19 dilemma has had a huge impact on the global and the local economy.
This has resulted in many sectors and industries in the Solomon Islands whether it be private or government to be caught off-guard in the middle.
The country’s domestic tourism sector is one of the many sectors that felt the blow tremendously.
Ministry of Culture and Tourism despite the situation is optimist and keep its head up high in order to save the tourism industry from sinking.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Andrew Nihopara told Tourism Media Solomons that everybody needs to keep their heads above the water and not to use the situation as an excuse and not doing anything.
“Though we are badly affected as a sector, that doesn’t give us the reason to sit back and relax but we must continue to do work.
“As the government ministry we try to be the frontline of that.
“We will continue to engage with our private sectors and find ways to move forward and keep business going.
“We will also try to explore the potential of domestic tourism and at the same time prepare us on how we should stand and continue to operate after this,” PS Nihopara said.
Asked how bad this COVID-19 was had on the operations of the ministry, the Permanent Secretary said it has halted the Ministry’s renewing of the strategic plan (Solomon Islands National Tourism Development Strategic Plan) and revalidating and renewing the policy.
“How badly affected we are regarding the COVID-19 is that it halts the renewal of our strategic plan, revalidating and renewing our policy.
“A valid policy and strategic plan is important to engage with key stakeholders and development partners because that forms the basics to work with them.
“The COVID-19 is holding up some of the key steps that we want to take up to validate our programs.
“We will continue as a government ministry to keep the private sector (tourism sector) that we represent to must defy all odds and sail through the storm,” PS Nihopara exclusively told Tourism Media Solomon Islands.