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Danger – Tourists

Industry acts to protect small islands

TOURISM provides close to $USD3.3billion in revenue across the Pacific each year with this figure expected to grow at a steady rate to around $USD4billion in 2019. Arrivals stood at 1.7 million in 2011, rising to 1.9 million in 2015 and projections are that visitor growth will grow at around four per cent annually. Driven by an increasing Chinese market, tourism across the region has started to see the benefits of additional visitors.

The Solomon Islands has taken on cruise ships this year – a departure from the trend of aircraft-borne arrivals. Other Pacific countries – Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu – have seen an increase in cruise ship visits over 2016. New flights have opened possibilities for Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands and even the Northern Pacific with connections through Port Moresby and Nauru.

But along with increased arrivals comes the additional burden on utilities – water and electricity – and pressure on disposal facilities and the already fragile eco-systems. More tourists means additional hotel rooms and airconditioning which leads to greater power use through diesel generators. The South Pacific Tourism Organisation has taken these issues into consideration and started capacity building training to small countries to help raise awareness of…….

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