News 21 Apr 2017
The Solomon Islands has had a tumultuous past, facing civil unrest, economic uncertainty, health scares and the impacts of climate change. However, the Pacific nation is leaving its past behind and looking at new ways for the country to diversify and forge ahead.
The Solomon Islanders believe there is huge potential in their slice of paradise, and are open to opportunities.
On Thursday, a Solomon Islands delegation (pictured above) consisting of Head of Mission to the Solomons in New Zealand HE Joy Kere; Honorary Consul for the Solomon Islands Kayhan Khadem; along with Lonsdale Lungana, Derrick Aihari, and Donnalee Vozoto from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration (Foreign Investment Division) visited Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) to meet with Chief Executive Officer Laulu Mac Leauanae.
The delegation then attended the After 5 event hosted by the New Zealand Pacific Business Council (NZPBC), to encourage interest in the upcoming business mission to the Solomons in June.
Foreign Investment Division Director Aihari delivered a presentation on the Solomon Islands economic outlook and potential opportunities at the event attended by approximately 30 guests.
Meanwhile HE Kere (pictured below) says it is time for the Solomon Islands, which consist of six major and approximately 900 smaller volcanic islands, coral atolls and reefs, to catch-up to the likes of Fiji and Samoa when it comes to building and maintaining trade relationships with NZ.
“We have quality goods to export – such as timber, coffee, cocoa and we are looking at ways to try and break into the market here,” she says.
The Solomon Islands Government is looking at alternate avenues to earn revenue other than the traditional industries of mining, agriculture, forestry, and fishing, and it is conscious foreign investment is the way forward, generating local employment and creating opportunities for the Solomon Islanders.
Tourism is definitely an area of growth, the Head of Mission says.
“There is a focus on our tourism infrastructure, while we are seeing more and more cruise ships stop - visitor numbers are on the rise, and we are hosting more regional visitors in the Solomons for conferences.”
Tourist numbers have risen steadily in the past decade and according to the ANZ Business website, the most recent statistics indicate there are over 20,000 arrivals to the Solomon Islands each year.
“There is a lot of excitement around tourism - it is being marketed as ‘off the beaten track’.
“Eco-tourism in villages is taking off with the government funding ventures and injecting the money back into the villages.”
The Solomon Islands is becoming more accessible too, with various flight routes opening-up, the HOM adds.
For NZ businesses interested in investing in the Solomon Islands, the NZPBC Business Mission is an ideal chance to network, and look at any potential ventures.
The two-and-a-half-day intensive business mission is scheduled for June, with dates yet to be finalised.
Non-members can attend the business mission - the $300 registration they are required to pay will also provide them with a NZPBC membership.
Click NZPBC for more information, and email Christine Connon - firstname.lastname@example.org - to register.