Minister of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) Hon. Bartholomew Parapolo and Premier of Malaita Province, Hon. Daniel Suidani signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a joint implementation of tourism projects and programs in Auki on Tuesday 20th October 2020.
The MOU spells out the tourism projects and programs for the Ministry and the provincial government to collaborate on over the next five years. These include the Auki Tourism information and cultural centre and other tourism programs such as the Forest Lake (Osi) Ecotourism Development, cruise ship port preparedness projects and training in the tourism minimum standards, which will include the COVID 19 Extra Care Measures & standards.
Minister Parapolo emphasized that the need by his Ministry to engage more actively with the provinces is becoming more vital in order for the provinces to become more involved in tourism development, and to take ownership of the priority tourism projects.
There are few outstanding tourism projects that have been outstanding with the Malaita Province and through the MOU these projects can be advanced progressively.
Malaita Premier Hon. Suidani welcomed the initiative by MCT to create the necessary platform for closer collaboration on the tourism developments in the province through the MOU. The Premier pledged his Province’s commitments to work in partnership with MCT in executing the MOU.
The signing of the MOU was witnessed in signatory as well by the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Culture & Tourism’ Andrew Nihopara and Provincial Secretary of Malaita Province, Fredrick Fa’abasua at the Malaita Provincial Assembly Chambers. Malaita Assembly members also witnessed the signing ceremony.
In the previous weeks, MCT signed two other similar MOUs with the Premier of Central Islands Province, Hon. Stanley Manetiva and the Premier of Isabel Province, Hon. Leslie Kikolo in Honiara and Buala respectively.
The MOU is part of the redirection approach currently undertaken by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to engage more proactively with provincial governments in tourism development. This initial phase of the MOU is being signed with Central Province, Isabel and Malaita. MCT looks forward to initiating dialogue with other provinces over the next year.
As MCT redirects the focus on aggressively driving forward the domestic tourism bubble due to the impacts created by COVID19 on the local tourism sector, pursuing more tourism projects and product development within our provinces become more important.
Developing and sustaining a robust domestic tourism sector is part of Tourism Recovery Plan being developed by the Ministry of Culture & Tourism.