BY LYNNISSHA RUNA
INTERNATIONAL arrivals into Solomon Islands has scored an earnest surge of 1.1 per cent during the September quarter.
This was after a total of 14,812 tourist visited the country in the third quarter of 2018. Compared to the same quarter a year ago, an increase of 8.6 per cent was recorded, the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office (SINSO) revealed.
Releasing the statistical report for the quarter recently, Government Statistician, Douglas Kimi said 53 per cent of the arrivals were from visitors followed by returning residents by 47 per cent and the remaining less than 1 per cent were from intending residents. “Visitor arrivals for the third quarter improved by 11.6 per cent to 7,838 visitors, compared to the 7,021 visitors noted in the second quarter of 2018.
“Also, there was a 7.7 per cent increase in visitors’ arrivals from third quarter 2017 to third quarter 2018,” Mr. Kimi stated.
Meanwhile, on arrivals by country of residence, Mr. Kimi said Australians remain the largest group of visitors to the Solomon Islands notching 36.9 per cent. “There was a 17.1 per cent increase to 2,892 in Australian visitors compared to the second quarter of 2018 figure 2,469.
“The next largest group of visitors were from Other Asia by 12.1 per cent, followed by New Zealand with 7.4 per cent, Papua New Guinea 6.5 per cent, United States of America 6.2 per cent, Fiji 5.8 per cent, and Other Pacific 5.4 per cent.”
On visitor arrivals by month, Mr. Kimi said the month of July recorded the highest number of arrivals with 2,862 visitors followed by September with a total of 2,663 visitors and August the least with 2,313 visitors.
“A total of 2,849 tourists were recorded during the quarter and they spent an average of 12.8 days in the country. Australian residents still made up the highest proportion of tourists with 40.7 per cent and stayed in the country for an average of 11.8 days.
Residents from the United States of America made up the next largest group of tourists with 10.0 per cent, followed by Other Asia with 8.5 per cent, New Zealand 6.3 per cent, Other Europe 4.7 per cent, Japan 4.5 per cent, China 4.0 per cent, Other Pacific 3.8 per cent and Papua New Guinea by 3.3 per cent.”
Mr. Kimi said the most common reason for visitors visiting the country during the quarter was for holiday and vocation which scored 34.6 per cent followed by Business and Conference by 25.2 per cent, visiting for other reason 23.7 per cent, visiting friends and relatives 14.8 per cent and transit & stop over 1.7 per cent.
On visitors by age group for the quarter showed that 72.7 per cent of visitors were in the 25 years to 64 years age range.
“The youngest age group, 0 -14 years, represented 4.1 per cent of the arrivals while the oldest age group, 65 years and over made up 10.5 per cent of total visitor arrivals. The remaining 2.8 per cent were visitors who did not state their age. Male visitors represented more than half of the total visitors’ arrivals by 66.6 per cent and female visitors made up 33.4 per cent of arrivals.
“Visitor by occupation showed that the “Professional and Technical” category made up the largest percentage of occupations by 34.8 per cent during the quarter followed by visitors who stated their occupation as Other occupation group with 30.4 per cent), Administration and managerial position 12.1 per cent), No work 11.1 per cent, and Clerical and related workers 3.6 per cent.
“The most popular carriers during the quarter were Solomon Airlines who carried 43.0 per cent of total visitors, followed by Fiji Airways by 29.6 per cent and Virgin Australia 19.3 per cent,” Mr. Kimi stated.