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Council of tourism ministers meeting kicks off with major development agenda

Minister of Culture and Tourism Hon Bartholomew Parapolo and Western Province Premier Hon Wayne Maepio

THE 2017 Council of Tourism Ministers meeting (CTMM) kicked off yesterday at the Gizo Hotel with the main agenda based on tourism development for Solomon Islands.

According to Minister of Tourism, Hon Bartholomew Parapolo, during the official opening, CTMM is the next highest level of development dialogue between provinces and the national Government.

It was started by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism with the objective to focus on developing tourism as one of the most important productive sectors for the provinces and country as a whole.

“Development of any productive sector is not the responsibility of the National Government but collective responsibility of both the Provincial and National Governments.

“In this regard, the CTMM was introduced as a development-focused meeting where each province can share information about their tourism potential and learn from each other for the purpose of developing the sector.

“The CTMM is a unique opportunity for provincial decision makers to form ideas about ways to drive the tourism sector within their respective provinces with the support and involvement of the National Government and the private sector,” he added.

The Minister of Culture and Tourism also reminded the provincial ministers and their provincial secretaries that he wants to see them use these two days to identify and focus on important areas that will help drive the tourism industry forward.

“Let us recognise the economic potential of tourism for our provinces and develop ideas about how each province can play its part in developing that potential,” said the Minister.

During the official opening of the CTMM in Gizo Town yesterday

“As one country, let us identify ways for our provinces to develop tourism products and attraction that complement with each other than compete.

“Let us look for ways where we can cooperate with each other and work according to the National Government’s tourism development Strategy and Policy.”

Western Province Premier Hon Wayne Maepio, during the official opening of the CTMM, said that the meeting marked another milestone in the development of tourism in communities and the country as a whole.

“Our unity and togetherness this day ladies and gentlemen paves the way forward for the future of the tourism industry in our provinces.

“This in itself proves beyond reasonable doubt that both the National and Provincial Governments, other stakeholders and partners are very supportive and committed in the development of tourism.”

The Premier elaborated that tourism development is within everyone and it should begin with each individual, families and communities.

From L to R, Ministry of Culture and Tourism Permanent Secretary Andrew Nihopara, Minister of Culture and Tourism Hon Bartholomew Parapolo and Western Province Premier Hon Wayne Maepio at the opening of the CTMM yesterday

“If we want to promote tourism then let us think tourism, talk tourism, act tourism, work tourism and let us lead tourism.

“We should focus on the conservative tourism approach in which we have our natural resources, natural settings and the natural way of looking after it, whereas in fact they should be easily turned into tourism products and services.

“It should also be considered in the holistic approach. Tourism is healthiness, discipline, conservation and preservations.

“Tourism breeds friendship and I encourage you to promote friendship amongst yourselves during the meeting so that you freely share and discuss the future of tourism in the country. Let us unite, develop and enjoy tourism.

“My challenge to this meeting is that so much has been said about the potentials of tourism in our provinces but we are yet to explore and utilise this opportunities.

“The question now is when we are going to explore these tourism potentials? Is it now or never.”

Provincial Tourism Ministers, the Minister for Culture and Tourism and the
Western Province Premier posing after the CTMM official opening

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Andrew Nihopara during his speech also highlighted that the Prime Minister has acknowledged the initiative taken by the Ministry to establish the CTMM as a platform to collectively discuss relevant development issues in tourism.

He concluded by assuring the provincial tourism ministers, central government ministers and the senior provincial officials present that the discussions that will unfold over these two days and the actions that they would agree on to pursue will not go unnoticed.

The 2017 CTMM theme is ‘Sustainable Tourism for Future Growth’.