BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’AROA
TOURISM Solomons has called on the Solomon Islands Government to urgently reconsider a proposed ban on Facebook.
As the marking arm of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and like any other Solomon Islands-based businesses and the wider community, Tourism Solomons has called on the Solomon Islands Government to urgently reconsider a proposed ban of Facebook.
Tourism Solomons CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said that his organization heavily depended on Facebook.
Earlier this week, Tourism Media Solomons had received complaints from multiple tourism operators that this proposed ban on Facebook will pose a huge setback for their businesses.
They said facebook the use of Facebook has enabled them to reach their potential customers both locally and internationally.
They also questioned how the banning of Facebook reflects on a democratic nation like the Solomon Islands where freedom of expression, freedom of media, and capitalist principles are at the core of our democracy?
However, for Tourism Solomons, the current COVID-19 environment has given them a new perspective to view social media as their key vehicle for doing their marketing.
“We view social media as a key vehicle with which to maintain our tourism profile in the current COVID-19 environment which has seen our international visitation grind to a complete halt.
“This environment has seen us turn to Facebook as integral to our international marketing and overall wider engagement, so from our perspective, this decision simply does not make business sense,” the Tourism Solomon boss said.
He said currently 80 percent of their marketing activity takes place on Facebook, with just under 36,000 active users interacting with the national tourist office regularly.
He said in the last 28 days alone, they had reached over 131,000 people.
He explained the reach they have to achieve that a recent post featuring Ms. Solomon Islands, Gladys Habu, learning to dive in the Western Province had attracted attention from over 92,000 users.
“The platform has become vital in our efforts to keep the Solomon Islands top of mind and competitive on the world tourism stage for the time when things return to normal.
“No other social media platform comes even close to what we have been achieving with Facebook.
“We urgently request the government’s assistance in reconsidering the proposed ban given the implications it will have.
“And not just for our tourism sector, but for all Solomon Islands businesses and the wider community in general which uses Facebook as a key means of communication across our 992-island archipelago.”
A date for implementation of the proposed ban has not as yet been announced.