The Western Province Adventure Trail and other potential tourism hubs will be developed through workshops supported by the Australian Government initiative Strongim Bisnis. The workshops held in Honiara and Gizo will, for the first time, introduce the St Gallen model for Destination Management into the Pacific. This new and innovative model aims to link tourism attractions and facilitate a traveller’s flow through a destination.
Ministry of Culture and Tourism Under Secretary Moses Tepai said, “The St Gallen model is a platform for significant economic opportunities and benefits for the industry. The findings and actions will inform our National Development Strategy for Tourism, particularly in Western Province.”
“This approach is ideal for packaging our unique natural and cultural based attractions, including those in Marovo Lagoon, Munda and Gizo. Adventure attractions such as diving, surfing, fishing, nature and World War II sites, all have incredible tourism appeal and potential to attract investors.”
The workshops were facilitated by David Ermen, who is an expert in the hotel and tourism industries. Mr Ermen explained how using maps to visualise tourists’ movements allows us to better understand the tourism demand and profile.
“The Solomon Islands are geographically spread out and tourism happens in many different areas for different activities. Using the St Gallen model will assist in developing sustainable tourism from the beginning, without jeopardising the social and ecological environment.”
Oravae Cottage tour operator Naomi Baea explained how the workshop encouraged her to look at the movements of tourists into Western Province and the connectiosn between her business and others. "We saw possible routes using Oravae as a starting or finishing point. We serve the Kolombangara, Simbo, Ranonga and Gizo islands, but now we have a flow that's possible through Vella La Vella."
The workshops are part of the Australian Government’s broader tourism support, under a partnership with the Western Province Tourism Association. A report will package the workshop ideas with recommendations for key stakeholders.