The MSG Secretariat will be in Honiara, Solomon Islands from 19-20 April 2018, to hold in-country Consultations with key stakeholders in the tourism industry.
The purpose for the consultations is to provide a platform where the industry players in the private sector including the hotel, resort and bungalow associations, in-bound tour operators, and both the domestic and international airlines could present their views and share information on the Multi-destination Tourism Program (MDTP) initiative for the MSG sub-region. The Secretariat have undertaken similar in-country consultations in Fiji last November.
Tourism plays a major role in the economies of member countries in particular the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It helps in generating self-employment, income to individuals, families in both the urban and rural communities. The tourism sector is also the major foreign exchange earner for national economies which are members of the MSG.
Traditionally, the approach to tourism development has been the single-destination model, where each country and/or destination competes for its market share, utilising various marketing and promotion strategies to attract visitors. Multi-destination however, goes beyond marketing and promotion and is an approach to tourism development that adds value to the tourism experience, while expanding the benefits of tourism to more than one destination. In this regard, multi-destination tourism can be considered one of the complementary means to diversify the sub-regional tourism industry while capitalising on the region’s natural and cultural assets and contribute to social and economic development and economic growth for our sub-region.
From a destination perspective, there are several benefits, economically and otherwise to be derived from multi-destination tourism. With the increasing popularity of niche market tourism, there is an opportunity to position the MSG sub-region as a multi-destination travel option to attract new markets as the natural, historic and cultural attributes of each country is further developed and promoted. This requires willingness and commitment on the part of the members to coordinate marketing, product development and investment strategies as ‘One’ Greater Melanesian Destination, even while continuing to develop their unique attractions.
From a regional perspective, multi-destination tourism offers the opportunity for each member country to ensure maximum output from its tourism investments and related activities. This is important in view of the current threats and uncertainties facing the tourism sector. These include the reduction in flights to and from the region’s premier hubs, as well as new travel policies and levies being implemented in some of the main source markets, which have diminished travel to the MSG Region.
The continuing strong partnership with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) contributes technical assistance to the MSG Secretariat.
The Programme Manager Economic Development, Mr. David Hopa will be representing the Secretariat during the national consultations in Honiara.
Similar consultations will be conducted in the coming weeks in Port Moresby, Noumea and Port Vila.