HONIARA, Solomon Islands – The Ministry of Culture and Tourism in the Solomon Islands, in partnership with the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus), is pleased to announce the successful completion of the first phase of the Finance Literacy Training for Beach Operators. This initiative, aimed at micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism industry in Solomon Islands, marks a significant step towards enhancing financial literacy and business management skills among local tourism operators.
Sol Grassroots’ Financial Literacy Trainer Mr. Calvin Charles (standing) with students.
The training, held on 1-2 August, 15-16 August, and 22-23 August 2023, witnessed enthusiastic participation from beach operators near Honiara. This endeavour is part of a broader effort to foster sustainable growth in the Solomon Islands’ tourism industry, where micro and small locally owned businesses constitute about 70 percent of the sector.
Mr. Philip Sukibuka, Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, expressed his optimism about the project’s outcomes: “Many small business operators were not able to access loans or relief grants due to poor financial reporting. This workshop is a possible solution on how we can assist to address this challenge.”
The Solomon Islands tourism industry, although vibrant, faces challenges due to the predominance of informal small-scale businesses. Many operators struggle with inadequate financial reporting and management practices, hindering their ability to access loans and grants. The survey conducted by the Department of Tourism in 2022 highlighted these hurdles and the need for targeted interventions.
Phase 1 of the training focused on enhancing business practices and encouraging investment in preparation for the 2023 Pacific Games scheduled to be hosted in Honiara. This initiative is designed to enable local operators to capitalise on the tourist influx during the games while also promoting sustainable practices.
Mr. Augusto Taraha, owner and manager of Eden Bay and Block 1 Beach, who attended the training, shared: “The training is simple and easy for me to understand. I never thought of adding extra income streams to grow my business. I will start to think about how I can incorporate this.”
The second phase of the training, scheduled from January – March 2024, will expand its reach to other key provinces, including Western, Central Island, Malaita, and Isabel Provinces. The comprehensive curriculum covers critical topics such as beach tourism, bookkeeping in tourism, cash management in tourism, and savings and budgeting in tourism. The training session are designed to be context-specific, practical and interactive, empowering participants to develop effective cash book records.
As the Financial Literacy Training for Beach Operators continues its journey, it holds the promise of not only transforming individual businesses but also uplifting the tourism landscape in the Solomon Islands.