Monday, 08 July 2024 22:28

Solomon Islands focuses on industry confidence and sets plans for extra trade support

Richard Skewes, Tourism Solomons; Kim Beere, Lifestyle Holidays Richard Skewes, Tourism Solomons; Kim Beere, Lifestyle Holidays

The Solomon Islands is looking to renew, establish and develop relationships with the New Zealand travel trade as the destination continues its tourism recovery.

Richard Skewes, Tourism Solomons trade manager Australia and New Zealand says having the national carrier, Solomon Airlines, flying in to Auckland regularly is something that should give agents confidence in selling the islands.

He points out that with IE servicing the whole Auckland to Honiara, via Vanuatu route there is no concern about missing a connection in Port Vila.

‘Delays can happen anywhere, but now if there is a delay in Auckland it will not have a significant impact because clients are travelling the whole way on the same metal,’ says Skewes.

He says that while some better known destinations encourage people to book direct, Solomon Islands relies almost entirely on the trade.

‘They are the true experts and they are selling to a clientele that are not really familiar with the destination. We need the agents more than ever and our hotels and other suppliers recognise this too.’

Skewes was part of a Tourism Solomons delegation visiting New Zealand that hosted a lunch at FISH, Hilton Auckland for trade and media yesterday.

He says the industry should watch out for a new online training system that will include education modules and chances to win prizes - details to come.

Tourism Solomons is also hoping to host wholesale representatives and product managers from New Zealand to Mi Save Solo – the destination’s annual travel trade exchange – in October.

The organisation is also in the early stages of planning a possible roadshow to this country to further educate consultants.

‘We have Micronesian, Melanesian and five types of Polynesian populations and we have nine different provinces. So depending on where people are looking to go they could be in a completely different country. There is a deep connection with culture in the Solomon Islands that can’t replicated anywhere else.’