HONIARA, Solomon Islands – A gathering of several of the Solomon Islands’ most eminent church elders has given ‘in principle’ support to a Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau strategy designed to grow the destination’s appeal to international travelers looking to get married overseas.
The ‘in principle’ support follows the gathering called by the SIVB to discuss the possibility of current Solomon Islands Matrimony Law being amended to allow overseas couples choosing to marry in the Solomon Islands to have their weddings legally recognized in their country of origin.
While the international wedding market is still a fledgling commodity for the Solomon Islands, the national tourist office has long recognized its potential and is keen to see the destination’s tourism industry benefit from a share of this major opportunity.
Representatives at the meeting included the South Seas Evangelical Church, the Solomon Islands’ United Church, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Church of the Nazarene, the Roman Catholic Church, the Solomon Islands’ Christian Association and the Anglican Church of Melanesia in Solomon Islands.
A representative from the Solomon Islands’ Office of the Solicitor General also attended.
Following discussion, the elders concluded that ‘in principle’ an approach may be made to government with a view to having the current act amended in order for overseas visitors’ weddings in the Solomon Islands to be registered and recognized internationally.
SIVB CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto who chaired the meeting said he as extremely pleased with the outcome of the initial consultation.
“While we still have a way to go, the support from our church elders is vital to the required outcome and will hopefully play a major role in helping to realize the required legal amendment,” he said.
“The Solomon Islands is one of the most romantic venues on earth in which to get married – it goes without saying the potential the international wedding market offers is immense.
“Several of our local resort operators already have wedding packages in place and are keen to begin building on-resort wedding chapels so we are very keen indeed to be able to progress this development in short time.
“Having the church agreement ‘in principle’ in the area for conducting marriage outside of the Cross (the Church) and the Chamber (the Court) presents a major way forward.”