The Solomon Islands government and its Fijian counterpart have come to the decision to end the impasse between the two countries airlines.
Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau chief executive officer, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto, welcomed the decision, saying the impasse had impacted strongly on international visitor arrivals since it was put in place last July.
Several resorts and operators across the country had advised cancellations since July as a direct result of the impasse, particularly from the USA market.
Last year was a difficult year for the Solomons, taking into account the floods in April and civil unrest mid-year in the lead up to the general election. Tuamoto said the impasse undoubtedly can be seen as “playing a further role in keeping people away from our shores.”
These combined factors resulted in international visitation figures to slide into negative growth for the first time in five years.
Moving forward, the impasse resolution along with the new government’s announcement for the intended push of the tourism agenda looks promising for tourism in 2015.
“Add to this further intensification of an SIVB international marketing program as we move into 2015 involving key local stakeholders which is intended to give us even stronger profile in the US and our other existing source markets and additionally newer destinations,” Tuamoto added.
Under the agreement Solomon Airlines will resume flights into Fiji as of 24 January, and Fiji Airways will recommence its services into Honiara from 03 February.