TOURISM AND ENVIRONMENT DISREGARDED, SAY SOLOMONS TOURISM OPERATORS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (September 6, 2001 - Solomon Star/PINA Nius Online)---Tourism operators around Marovo Lagoon say the tourism sector has been disregarded, misunderstood and seriously disadvantaged by the Solomon Islands government.

And they agree that the potential of an ecologically sustainable tourism industry producing much-needed foreign exchange has been totally overlooked.

Instead governments rushed to cash-in on the harvesting, exploitation and destruction of natural resources such as timber and fishing, they say.

These conclusions were reached after a meeting held at Uepi Island Resort and attended by tourist operators from around Marovo Lagoon, a key tourism area in Western Province.

The new General Manager of the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau, Maurice Otto, also attended.

He expressed his pleasure at the high standard, readiness and capability of the Marovo tourism sector.

He stated that without government support, the Visitors Bureau will not be an effective body and will fail.

The meeting, the first such gathering for tourist operators in Marovo Lagoon, decided there were many common issues and interests the group could meaningfully address.

A committee was elected to represent the interests of the Marovo operators.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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