AVIATION and Tourism experts of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) have set their eyes on improving multi-tourism destination packages and aviation upgrades within the sub-region.
The experts from Government Ministries and Agencies of MSG Member States held their second Aviation and Tourism Dialogue at the MSG Secretariat in Port Vila, Vanuatu, last week.The two-day meeting was a follow-up to provide a platform for members to continue discussions on key issues, challenges and opportunities faced by member countries including Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea.
“The MSG being a growing aviation market is now a leader in handling domestic and international passengers with international airlines operating within the MSG sub-region with carriers connecting over 20 countries in this region,” Director General of the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Industries, Tourism and Cooperatives of Vanuatu, Mr Marokon Alilee told participants on Thursday 10th March.
The meeting provided members with an excellent platform to allow technical and policy makers to interact, discuss and make relevant decisions on aviation and tourism matters that affect small economies in the MSG region.
Chair of the MSG Aviation and Tourism Dialogue and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Communication and Aviation of Solomon Islands, Moses Virivolomo said this partnership and information sharing between airlines played a crucial role in ensuring that airlines connectivity between members continue to grow.
“Ongoing discussions on issues such as airfare reduction and tourist packages continue to help members increase tourist and investor interests among member countries,” Virivolomo said.
Officer in Charge of the MSG Secretariat Mr John Licht said aviation has been a growing industry for the people of Melanesia and visitors to move around easily and increasing economic activities for the region.
“Given the emerging challenges faced in terms of aviation safety and competing tourism markets, and the need to boost trade, it is important that MSG aviation and tourism stakeholders continue to dialogue and remain open to and explore and agree on feasible options for further cooperation towards improving air services agreements, reduce costs and continue to enhance intra-MSG connectivity,” said Mr Licht.
The meeting also deliberated on current Air Services Agreements as a way forward in enhancing airline connectivity between MSG countries.
The outcomes of the meeting will be forwarded to the Sub-Committee of the Economic and Finance Officials Meeting (EFOM) before it is brought to the attention of the Trade and Economic Officials Meeting (TEOM) scheduled for April this year.
The Solomon Islands Delegation to the meeting included George Satu, Director of Civil Aviation Authority Solomon Islands (regulator) and Mr. Gus Kraus of Solomon Airlines (operator) while the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (tourism) was unable to attend due to other commitments.
Source: GCU Press