The Solomon Islands has become the latest country to announce that incoming travellers to the Pacific nation no longer require undergoing a PCR test for COVID-19 72 hours prior to arrival.
However, inbound passengers will still be required to provide proof of full vaccination on arrival into the country.
Tourism Solomons acting chief executive officer and head of corporate services, Dagnal Dereveke said the national tourism office had been anticipating the announcement for quite some time.
Along with other tourism bodies and business organisations within the country, he said Tourism Solomons had been adamant in calling for the PCR requirement to be dropped, and it was a “relief” to see the government finally make the decision.
Mr Dereveke said he viewed the outcome as the drawing of the curtain on what he described as a long and very tough period for the Solomon Islands which endured a border closure spanning more than 800 days.
“Our tourism industry has survived numerous crises over the years but we are a strong and resilient people,” he said.
“We are very confident with effort, good marketing and profile rebuild we can get back to where we were before the pandemic in relatively short time, especially with the Australian summer school holidays fast approaching.”
Prior to the pandemic, the Solomon Islands was hosting about 28,000 international visitors annually Australians constituting around 45 per cent.
“Our primary focus is to regain those Australian numbers as quickly as possible,” he said.
But Mr Dereveke cautioned while Tourism Solomons is looking forward to the “new normal” and getting on with business, the national tourist office would be advising its industry partners of the need to be keeping their guard up.
“Along with the government, we went to huge lengths to ensure the tourism industry had the requisite tools to manage any COVID-related issues,” Mr Dereveke said.
“Maintaining the COVID-health and safety protocols put in place during the elongated lockdown is in the best interests and safety of both our visitors and our citizens – while now we can relax at the same time, we can’t afford to let our guard completely down,” he said.
Mr Dereveke said the national tourist office and its tourism partners had remained in a constant state of readiness as one by one, COVID restrictions began to be relaxed.
“Almost all our country’s tourism plant across the entire destination, and especially in the main tourism corridors, is ready to host our visitors. Solomon is very good to go.”