THE lack of Government support towards rural tourism development in the country is a major setback to local operators.
Philip Subu, former graduate of USP and co-founder of Tolo Treks and Tours Company in the highlands of Central Kwara’ae, Naki’naki region, Malaita Province said.
“Lack of government support especially in terms of incentives to drive tourism development is a real challenge and a major setback to many infant tourism operators in the rural communities around the country.
“Another challenge is infrastructure and reliable transport to take tourists on time. It will also affect the itineraries, shipping and airlines schedules,” he said.
Subu said that currently old, new and interested tourism operators are struggling in terms of marketing their products. They already have the attractions but constraints by limited tourism knowledge. What needed at the moment is training for local operators.
“While I commend resource owners for their partnership in the development of tourism industry in the country, I believe that the only way forward to tourism development is through partnership and working together.
“The resource owners have a common understanding which is good.
“The remedial measures to the challenges are providing more financial support and capacity building trainings for the operators and tour guides.
“The government including both national and provincial should play a big role in addressing the challenges,” he said.
Meanwhile, Subu said that in order to drive tourism development forward, we need to work together. “I believe in partnership as a way forward.”
Tolo Treks and Tours Company is a new hiking company established early this year with pledges to promote sustainable development under the flagship of Rural Tourism Development (RTD) on Malaita Province.
The company which comes into reality on January 2015 has been described as a new wave or chapter of rural tourism development on the highlands of Central Kwara’ae, Naki Naki region.
It is a dedicated hiking company and is currently working closely with the communities and operators on the Naki Naki expanse to draw up a tourism development model that will set as an example to other regions on Malaita.
Its partnership with the communities is an ambition to set up a Tourism Association that will be the body and voice for the operators with the purpose to promote sustainable development under the flagship of RTD, cultural preservation and environmental conservation.
By STEPHEN DI’ISANGO