4 Jul 2005

Progress in planned tourism/forestry development in Solomon's Temotu province

7:34 pm on 4 July 2005

Reports of a huge joint tourism/forestry development in Solomon Islands remote Temotu have firmed up with a group of Australian investors flying to the province at the weekend.

The team of four Australians and ten local technicians will tomorrow travel to Vainikoro Island, the site of the project.

The tourism development is reported to include an international airport for Vainikoro.

The team is expected to assess the island's forestry resources to determine whether to mill the timber.

Our correspondent in Temotu, George West, says the provincial administration estimates the value of Vainikoro's forests at 1.6 billion US dollars - which it says can be sustainably harvested.

The predominant tree on Vainikoro is Agathis Macrophylla, a close relative of New Zealand's Kauri.