Strongim Bisnis deal for Solomons

A NEW initiative to increase private sector investment in the economy of the Solomon Islands was announced this week.
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Ann Sherry

Staff Reporter

Australian Department of Trade official Keith Pitt launched  the Strongim Bisnis initiative, part of Australia's $50 million Solomon Islands Growth Program, at the 9th Australia-Solomon Islands Business Forum in Honiara.
"With an investment of $14 million over three years, this initiative will see the government, the private sector and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce work to support growth in the cocoa, coconut and tourism sectors.
"These sectors have good potential to penetrate many international markets and to promote inclusive growth back home, because they are rooted in family and community systems of production," Pitt said.
In support of Solomon Islands growing cruise ship industry, Pitt announced the release of the Solomon Islands Handicraft Video and Vendor Guide which was produced by the Pacific Horticulture and Agriculture Market Access (PHAMA) program.
"The video will be played on Carnival Australia's cruise ships that visit Solomon Islands and will help educate tourists on Australian and New Zealand quarantine requirements in relation to handicrafts.
"By educating tourists on the benefits of buying locally made artefacts we hope this will help to generate economic opportunities whilst retaining biosecurity integrity," Pitt said.
Carnival Australia executive chair Ann Sherry said cruising was a way for emerging destinations in the South Pacific to develop their shore tours, artisan products and offerings for other tourists.
"Over the past two years, we have brought about 20,000 tourists to the Solomon Islands who are by-and-large first-time visitors experiencing the culture and amazing work by the local artisans, the natural wonders and crystal clear water all the while getting a history lesson," Sherry said. 
She said Carnival Australia saw one of its roles as encouraging shore-based tour operators and others involved in tourism to use cruising as a way of developing a broader offering that supports their overall efforts to attract tourists.
Carnival Australia worked with PHAMA on the design, development and filming of the new video as part of the cruise line's broader partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Pitt also promoted phase two of the Solomon Islands Biosecurity Development Program — which will run over three years — to assist Solomon Islanders meet the biosecurity requirements of export markets.
"By having a robust biosecurity system, Solomon Islands can capitalise on market access opportunities," he said.