12 Sep 2003

Solomos tourism hit by Australian travel warning

12:23 pm on 12 September 2003

A Solomon Islands tourism operator in the Western Province's main town, Gizo, says Australia's travel advisory warning against all travel to the country is unnecessary and damaging.

Dive business owner Danny Kennedy says the continuing bans have ripped the tourism industry apart in Western Province, yet it was unaffected by the ethnic conflict on Guadalcanal.

Mr Kennedy says visitor numbers have dropped by 70 per cent and that he has had to lay off over half of his staff.

Mr Kennedy has written to the Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Bob Davis, asking him to consider issuing a regional ban.

"A lot of the marketing promotion that we're undertaking to try to continue to survive is being undermined by this advice's thing do not travel to Solomon Islands, they're not saying don't travel to Honiara not travel to Malaita, they're saying don't' travel to the entire Solomon Islands, and it's very, very unfair."

A spokesperson for the Australian Ministry of Foreign and Trade says their travel advisory is based on the best information available to them.