BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’AROA
DESPITE being one of the hardest-hit sectors in the country, the tourism sector slowly but surely is progressing.
The fruitful meetings by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism with the Malaita and Central Provincial government recently, and with the two proposed Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) is evidence that the sector is showing signs of progress in this time of the pandemic.
These MOUs will set out the pathway for collaboration between the tourism & culture ministry and the Provincial Governments, for joint execution and implementation of key tourism projects over the next financial year.
In a media statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Prime Minister Sogavare has acknowledged these bold steps the ministry had taken in ensuring work must continue despite the situation.
The Prime Minister said this is in regards to the continuation of the House No. 1 Project and Tourism investment facilitation programs for the Central Islands Province, which will host the Colonial History Museum of the country, however, he said the MOU with Malaita province will be for the Malaita Tourism, Culture and Information Centre project for Auki.
Opposition Leader Matthew Wale also this week in a concerned manner has voiced out his uncertainty and the future of the tourism sector should the pandemic is continuing.
“This sector is the hardest hit from COVID-19. It is not easy to see clearly what can be done to revitalize or support the tourism sector at this stage.
“If there is no well-thought-out plan to support this sector to weather the current situation, post-COVID-19, or when a vaccine is finally rolled out and tourism picks up again, it will be much more costly to resurrect this industry,” the Opposition Leader Matthew Wale said.
Prime Minister Sogavare in the statement said despite these setbacks the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will continue with its close dialogue with the tourism operators on the way forward.
“The current pandemic has no doubt hit hard on the tourism sector.
“Despite these setbacks, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are continuing close dialogue with our tourism operators on the way forward,” the statement reads.