12 Mar 2019

Tourism Solomons urges visitors to keep coming despite oil spill

11:03 pm on 12 March 2019

Tourism Solomon Islands says the best way for international well-wishers to help the country overcome a major oil spill is to keep on visiting the country.

MV Solomon Trader oil spill on Rennell Island, Solomon Islands.

MV Solomon Trader oil spill on Rennell Island, Solomon Islands. Photo: The Australian High Commission Solomon Islands

A multi-country effort to stem the oil flowing from a bulk carrier grounded on a reef off Rennell Island in the southern Solomons is ongoing.

But the chief executive of Tourism Solomons, Josefa Tuamotu said while he does not want to downplay the severity of the disaster, it is important for visitors to know that the spill is only affecting a very remote island in an isolated part of the country.

Mr Tuamotu said the majority of the country's tourism hotspots, including its world class dive sites, have not been affected by the spill.

"The best thing our international visitors can do to help the people of Rennell Island, and by extension the people of the Solomon Islands who are so dependent on tourism, is to keep their travel plans on track," Josefa Tuamotu said.

"I can assure you they will receive an even warmer welcome than usual!".

Meanwhile, the operation to salvage the grounded Solomon Trader has been boosted by the arrival of UK and US oil spill containment specialists who join their Australian and New Zealand counterparts who arrived on the scene last week.

Containment booms are now in place to hold the oil already spilled and plans are underway to extract the remaining oil on board the ship.

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