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The Solomon Islands are paddling forward further

first_imgThe Solomon Islands are paddling forward, further developing their place in the Pacific this week hosting the Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture and the inaugural ‘Mi Save Solo’ Solomon Islands tourism exchange. Travel Monitor contributor Kate Webster reports from Honiara.Solomon Islands Minister for Tourism & Culture, the Hon. Bartholomew Parapolo officially opened the tourism exchange, welcoming some 30 buyers from Australia, Japan, Taiwan and the US at the Coral Sea Resort & Casino in Honiara.Buyers will meet with local tour operators, dive companies and resort managers representing product from across the Solomon Islands, before going beyond Honiara to Gizo and Munda in the Western Province, Marau Sound and Malaita to experience what makes the destination an ideal choice for travellers to experience the South Pacific.Tourism Solomon’s Sales & Marketing Representative Richard Skewes with Mi Save Solo delegates.Tourism Solomons CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said the essence of these post-tourism exchange programs was to instil a very clear image in participants’ knowledge banks that the Solomon Islands is very much a “series of destinations within the one destination offering a plethora of unique and very niche travel experiences.”Tuamoto said while there had been similar buyer/seller events in previous years, this year’s event has attracted unprecedented increased interest.Delegates to Mi Save Solo are able to enjoy music and dance by performers from all over the South Pacific at the Melanesian Cultural FestivalThe timing of the tourism exchange means delegates can also visit the Melanesian Festival of Arts & Culture while in Honiara and the celebrations surrounding the Solomon Islands 40th anniversary of independence.The 6th Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival kicked off in Honiara on 1 July and runs until 10 July, celebrating the Melanesian arts and culture with over 2000 artists and performers from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and diaspora Melanesian communities in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia, Timor Leste and the Torres Strait Islanders of Australia.Pan pipers from Santa Isabel performing at the Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival in Honiara.The Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival is held every four years and continues to promote traditional and contemporary arts from the whole of Melanesia.This year the theme is “Past Recollections, Future Connections”, setting the stage for a new sense of direction to be taken in a connective manner whereby the past is linked to present status quos and future aspirations.Choiseul tribesmen from the Solomon Islands look menacing – like they just devoured someone with those red mouths. This is of course from chewing betel nut, although they were once known as cannibals.All images by Kate Webster.last_img

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