A 2018 survey, which was funded by the Australian Government program Strongim Bisnis, found that expatriates travelling within the Solomon Islands spend on average SBD$4,033 per trip. This makes the total expatriate tourism market—at a conservative estimate of 1000 expatriates—worth SBD$4 million to the Solomon Islands’ economy.
The survey results were detailed in a report launched on Friday by Tourism Solomons and Strongim Bisnis. The survey found that while most expatriates lived in Honiara, 95% had travelled domestically and were likely to travel within the country again in 2019. Their average length of stay per trip was 3.6 nights.
Tourism Solomons Chief Executive Officer, Josefa Tuamoto said that “expatriates account for 4% to 8% of all tourists in the Solomon Islands, but the last survey to gather market intelligence was conducted more than a decade ago. To keep our tourism market growing, we need up-to-date information on tourist preferences, trends and behaviour so we can position the Solomon Islands as a travel destination of choice”.
The survey outlined tourist preferences and found several opportunities to increase expatriate spend further. These opportunities included offering activities around water and nature such as fishing trips, bird watching, village life and historical tours. In particular, the report noted that food and beverage spend was an opportunity to increase income, and activities such as teaching tourists how to grow, prepare and cook food local to the Solomon Islands was possible.
Australian High Commission Second Secretary Economic, Cass Grant noted that “Australia is committed to supporting tourism and economic growth in the Solomon Islands. Tourism contributes 3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the Solomon Islands’ economy and supports the livelihoods of many Solomon Islanders. This survey provides updated information that tourism stakeholders need. The survey results will help operators create new travel packages to attract more tourists in the future.
The report launch was held at the Tourism Solomons office in Honiara and attended by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Tourism Solomons, the Australian High Commission, Solomon Airlines, the Guadalcanal Tourism Association and Strongim Bisnis.
You can download a copy of the report at https://strongimbisnis.com.sb/resources.html.