Rounding out another positive 12 months for the Solomon Islands’ tourism fortunes, international visitation for the period January – December 2016 has surpassed set targets for the second year running.
Figures released this week by the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office show the destination received a total of 23,192 international visitors over the 12 months period, which is a 7.3% increase over the total achieved in 2015. On an individual country basis, Australian visitor arrivals again led the way, the 9,539 total recorded for the period slightly increasing by 0.3% to account for 41.1% of the 2015 total.
New Zealand more than cemented the number two spot, a 1,544 figure recorded for 2016 marking a 6.4% increase over the 1,451 Kiwis visiting in 2015.
Flights connecting different parts of the world with the Solomon Islands:
Fiji visitor arrivals also gained – up 12.2% in 2016 – while U.S. and Papua New Guinea arrivals again showed growth, figures increasing by 5.4% and 2.6%, respectively.
On a regional basis, combined Asia figures jumped by 26.7%, a factor Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto attributes to the work, his marketing team has done to in the region. “We know we have attracted very strong attention from a dive-crazy Asian audience, who has become very aware of the superb quality of both our coral and WWII wreck diving,” Mr Tuamoto said. “But is also very pleasing to see us continue to make gains in our four biggest source markets – Australia, New Zealand, the US, and Papua New Guinea – which continue to perform well. Key to everything we do is to continue raising awareness for the Solomon Islands’ appeal, to attract a more diverse range of visitors. The 75th anniversary of the Guadalcanal campaign, combined with the corresponding commemoration of the John F. Kennedy rescue in August this year holds huge potential for us to boost our 2017 numbers. However, we have to improve our efforts on an ongoing basis, examine how we do things and get them right to take that quantum leap, and propel our country’s tourism fortunes into the future.”