After more than 800 days, the Solomon Islands will reopen its border on 01 July with all existing quarantine requirements to be immediately discontinued.
Announcing the news, Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manesseh Sogavare said While quarantine will be dropped, visitors will still need to be fully vaccinated and a negative PCR test result actioned 72 hours prior to arrival.
This extended timeframe is intended to benefit passengers requiring a transit stop prior to boarding a flight to the Solomon Islands.
Tourism Solomons Acting CEO, Head of Corporate Services, Dagnal Dereveke said after more than two years of isolation from the rest of the world, the news was a Red-Letter Day for his country and he and his team were excited to once again be in a position to welcome international visitors.
“The bulk of our tourism sector has been long preparing for this day,” he said.
“We have been anticipating this announcement for quite some time so most of the country’s tourism plant across the entire destination has kept busy upgrading their facilities and making sure we are ready to host our visitors the moment the government made its decision to reopen,” he said.
“The same applies to our COVID-readiness – our team, along with Ministry of Culture & Tourism and Ministry of Health staffers, have been traversing the entire country, educating our hotel and resort management and tourism operators on what they need to do to ensure all visitors enjoy as safe an environment as possible during their stay.”
This activity, he said, has seen more than 80 percent of businesses and some 1000 staff undergoing ‘Tourism Minimum Standards Extra-Care’ training and COVID-safe protocols in preparation for the border reopening.
“We know the return to where we were in 2019 when we welcomed a record 28,000 international visitors will take time,” Mr Dereveke said.
“But our tourism industry has survived numerous crises over the years, our reputation is one of resilience and achievement.”
“While it has been a tough period for all Solomon Islanders, we are confident, working hand in hand with our industry partners, we can get back on the road to where we were in relative time.”
Mr. Dereveke praised Solomon Airlines’ decision that from 01 August it will reintroduce regular flights on its the Solomon Islands and Australia, Fiji, Vanuatu, and Kiribati services, many of which offer connections to partner airline services from New Zealand, Asia, and the USA.
This combines with the recent news that Virgin Australia flights to the Solomon Islands will hopefully resume in December, the carrier having been allocated 360 seats per week in each direction between Australia and Honiara.
These services and connections, Mr. Dereveke said, will play a major role in the Solomon Islands’ ability to reach its key and emerging visitor source markets.