BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’AROA
WHEN it comes to the Solomon Islands tourism sector, the influx of overseas tourists into the country might have an obvious impact as the country started to get prepared for the impact of this latest global health crisis on the Coronavirus.
How relevant authorities will respond to help contain the spread of the virus coming into our shores is another story that will set a new precedent in terms of the tourism businesses in the Solomon Islands.
The World Health Organization on Thursday 23 January, called for precautions and a global emergency for now.
There are 10 cruise ships bound to visit the country this year 2020 and according to the Ministry of culture and Tourism, they are working tirelessly into developing destinations within the country to take on cruise ships.
However, in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak that caused havoc around the world including the Pacific, there are questions being asked by the public as well as the media on what are the possible setback that it could do upon the country’s tourism industry, especially if the potential point of entry were restricted from international visitors.
In response to all these, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tourism Solomons, the tourism marketing arm of the government Josefa Tuamoto has made a statement earlier today 20th January 2020 saying “vigilance is key”.
He called on travelers heading to the Solomon Islands to take serious heed of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) advises regarding the current Coronavirus outbreak.
He stated while to date no cases of the virus had been detected in the Solomon Islands, the local health authorities were doing everything to prevent possible importation of the disease.
This, he said, included surveillance at all air and seaports and other points of entry as part of the strengthening measures to detect any traveler who might be affected by the virus.
“Our medical authority is on full alert, monitoring procedures have been ratcheted up at air and seaports and all other points of entry, and health officials are on hand to check all inbound passengers for signs of illness.”
“Vigilance is the key here,” Mr. Tuamoto said.