BY ALEX DADAMU
SINCE the launch of the ‘Iumi Tugeda Holidays’ initiative, the sales of the packages by the general public and business houses have been very encouraging so far.
This was according to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Andrew Nihopara when queried by Tourism Media Solomon Islands this week via email.
Nihopara revealed that encouraging sales of the packages was mainly due to the attractiveness of the packages based on the costs since these packages are based on special discounted rates for accommodations, transfers, and also the airfare components.
However, he added that as for the involvement of the Public Service in this initiative, most Government ministries are awaiting the passing of the 2021 budget before they can commence within their respective ministries for eligible officers of levels 10 and above.
“Also note that many Government officers have just used up their annual holiday entitlement so they can only utilize the Iumi Tugeda Holidays for their new annual leave as and when it is due.
“The Ministry of Public Service will be issuing a SIG-wide Circular soon on the amendments to the General Orders that would facilitate the roll-out of the ‘Iumi Tugeda Holidays’ within the Public Services.
“It is important to note that these amendments were already approved by the Cabinet to support the Domestic Tourism Bubble Policy initiative,” Nihopara said.
He in the meantime said that the Ministry of Culture & Tourism is hoping to commence the initiative as soon as the 2021 appropriation is passed by Parliament and the relevant expenditure warrants are issued by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Planning respectively.
It is understood that the Government through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is taking steps to help keep the ailing tourism industry in the country afloat which has been battered by COVID-19 travel restrictions for the past 12 months.
As such, a joint initiative by Solomon Airlines, the Public Service Ministry, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism along with other tourism stakeholders was launched called ‘Iumi Tugeda Holidays’ initiated to support local tourism operators in the country.