Home News Solomon Islands Tourism Operators Explore Sustainability in Brisbane

Solomon Islands Tourism Operators Explore Sustainability in Brisbane

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Solomon Islands tourism operators discuss culture, food, marketing an eco-tourism business to international markets, managing an eco-tourism business and experience the First Nations tour of Minjerribah
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Tourism operators from across Solomon Islands have travelled to Australia to build knowledge on sustainable tourism and foster connects with industry counterparts.

Australia supported four tourism businesses, who were selected to attend the Global Sustainable Tourism Summit in Brisbane from 4 to 6 June.

Organised by Ecotourism Australia, the inaugural summit brought together over 200 experts and speakers from Australia and the region representing sustainable tourism operations and destinations. Ecotourism involves responsible travel to natural areas that aim to conserve the environment, sustain the well-being of local communities, and provide interpretation and education.

Australian High Commissioner Rod Hilton said the trip underscores Australia’s dedication to supporting economic development in Solomon Islands through sustainable tourism initiatives.

“Solomon Islands is considered an emerging eco-tourism destination due to its natural beauty, unique culture and close proximity to Australia,” said Mr Hilton.

“Sustainable tourism can lead to improved local business and employment opportunities for communities in Solomon Islands, particularly for women, youth, and people living with disabilities.”

Solomon Islands attendees at the summit are investing in eco-tourism-related products and services, including Authentic Mala Tours in Malaita Province, Parangiju Mountain Lodge in East Guadalcanal Province, Titiru Eco Lodge in Western Province, and Honiara-based Go Solomons and Iumi Tours.

Ender Rence, of Go Solomons tour company was one of three women-owned tourism operators who travelled to Brisbane to attend the conference.

“Climate change often brings sad and negative stories, especially for those of us in the Solomon and the Pacific, who are on the front lines. From rising sea levels to stronger storms, we see the impacts daily. But amidst these challenges, there is hope. Eco or sustainable tourism offers a positive way forward,” Mrs Rence said.

“By promoting regenerative tourism and renewable energy, we can address climate change and become climate-positive change makers. It’s about preserving our environment; sharing our local, authentic, and personal experiences. Visitors wants to come and hear our personal stories.

“Collaboration across the sector and region is key. By working together and maintaining consistency in our ecotourism efforts, we can protect our beautiful islands and create a sustainable future for everyone.

“By attending the summit, we were able to learn more about industry best practices, connect with tourism leaders and sustainability experts, and understand ways to strengthen our own eco-tourism hospitality and guided tour offerings,”

A key topic of interest at the summit was climate change resilience. Despite the growing popularity of eco-tourism, the natural areas where they operate are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Pana Paza of Titiru Eco Lodge said the summit gave them a new perspective on eco-tourism and sustainability.

“Our natural environment-focused business models are unfortunately also a climate change risk, but this also just means we have to find new ways to adapt and build climate resilience as we always have,” Mr Paza said.

“It was good to hear how other tourism businesses are adopting climate change resilient practices to improve their eco-tourism offerings, while also increasing resilience to shocks.”

The Solomon Islands operators were also able to participate in a full day cultural and business exchange with a First Nations-owned tourism operator, Yura Tours, on Minjerribah (Stradbroke Island) that offers tourism products centred around culture, nature and local food, an area of strong interest and potential in Solomon Islands.

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Hazel Bae of Authentic Mala Tours appreciated the networking opportunities with other Australian eco-tourism businesses.

“Ecotourism has come a long way in Australia, so it was great to meet with other industry operators, particularly Indigenous-owned businesses, to hear how they are managing ecotourism promotion, certification and management,” Ms Bae said.

Australia’s support is working to improve a range of economic sectors in Solomon Islands, including tourism, through a initiatives centred on business training, collaboration and knowledge-exchange.

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