Solomon Islands expecting big economic boost from hosting Pacific Games

Aerial view of Honiara, Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands is anticipating a huge financial boost thanks to the staging of the Pacific Games later this year.

The country’s Government is reportedly predicting that it will generate AUD$60 million (US$39.4 million) in tourism revenue from the Games which are expected to attract more than 5,000 visitors. 

The financial challenges facing the Solomon Islands was outlined in a report by Business Advantage PNG but Luke Forau, Governor of the Central Bank of Solomon Islands claimed there were signs of a recovery with the Games expected to play a key role in that. 

According to the Business Advantage PNG, the overall spend for the continental multi-sport event is AUD$540 million (US$355.03 million). 

The figure includes the cost of upgrading sporting facilities and improving transport infrastructure to be able to host the Pacific Games. 

Kishti Sen, economist for the ANZ Banking Group, told the Business Advantage PNG, that the investment can help to boost the country’s finances. 

“Solomon Islands can have a thriving mixed economy sooner than soon of its Pacific neighbours,” said Sen 

The Solomon Islands is due to stage this year’s Pacific Games between 19 November and 2 December, following a four-month delay blamed on COVID-19. 

The country has benefit from the financial assistance of many nations including Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. 

It was announced earlier this month that the New Zealand Government would offer NZD$3 million ((US$1.8 million) to the Solomon Islands to assist with its preparations for the Games. 

China is providing significant backing for the Pacific Games with approximately SBD1.85 billion (US$221,005) in funding, including for construction of the main stadium. 

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has said that hosting the event means the country cannot hold a general election in 2023 and has had his term extended beyond the constitutional limit of four years in a move critics say is a power grab and undemocratic. 

The International Monetary Fund urged the Solomon Islands in February to ensure spending on this year’s Pacific Games and the delayed general election are “well controlled to minimise the crowding out of other essential spending”. 

Forau also stressed the importance of putting in place a financial strategy to make the most of the opportunities that are likely to come from hosting the event. 

“Long-term private investment will need to complement public investment to drive future growth,” Forau told the Business Advantage PNG…

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