Your safety is our priority. COVID-19 Measures

Solomon Islands’ Minimum Standards Tourism Extra Care Program and Iumi Tugeda Holidays

Minimum Standards Tourism Extra Care Program

As the Pacific re-opens its borders to international tourists, safety standards and guidelines are paramount and need to be adhered to. Having these standards and measures not only protect local tour operators and stakeholders but especially tourists to the region.

In the Solomon Islands, the Minimum Standards Tourism Extra Care Program was developed in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.  A program set up by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, supported by Tourism Solomons and sponsored by Strongim Bisnis.

The program targets all tourism operators including stand-alone tourism service providers like restaurants, transportation and community resource owners.

In order to reopen its borders to the world, Tourism Solomons and government stakeholders developed guidelines to help tourism operators and businesses prepare to work in a safe way and limit the spread of Covid-19.

These guidelines are aligned with international covid-safe practices.

Familiarization training rolled out towards the end of 2021 and continued into the 2nd quarter of 2022 due to the community transmission outbreak in the 1st quarter of the year. The program has covered the provinces:

  • Honiara
  • West Guadalcanal
  • Western Province
  • Central Islands Province
  • Malaita Province
  • Isabel Province

The program ensured tour operators, establishments and their staff understood:

  • The virus, how it spreads, the symptoms and how long it survives on surfaces.
  • The required sanitization and distancing procedures for themselves and for guests.
  • The effective use of PPE and what PPE to use for certain situations.
  • Address certain fears and concerns if a staff or guest is tested positive.
  • How tourism operators can implement Covid-19 protocols.

The MS Covid-19 Extra Care trainings were facilitated by an Infection Prevention Control Officer from the Ministry of Health and a Tourism Officer.

Iumi Tugeda Holidays

Launched in February 2021, the Iumi Tugeda Holiday specials was a concept designed specifically to support domestic Solomon Islands tourism operators affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, due to inbound and domestic travel restrictions. Importance

Targeting the local market, packages were created to incorporate reduced airfare and accommodation rates from local operators.

Since March 2020, no tourists entered the Solomons, and business travel had been strictly limited to small number of essential staff. This had devastated the tourism sector with the majority of tourism staff losing their jobs and many operators going out of businesses.

The Iumi Tugeda Holiday initiative was developed a year into border closures, to stimulate and encourage local tourism for the domestic airlines and tour operators. The initiative was later launched during Tourism Solomons- Tourism in Focus event, an annual event that gives both local and international tourism partners an insight into Tourism Solomons plans and events for the year.

Iumi Tugeda Holidays was a collaboration between Solomon Airlines, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Tourism Solomons and Ministry of Public Service to create much needed traffic for local operators.

A major source of the local market taking advantage of this inbound tour packages came from the   Solomon Islands Public Service. This saw significant changes being made to the Public Service policy particularly leave entitlements and processes for public service. Prior to Covid-19 the Solomon Islands Public Service policy stated that public servants were only entitled paid leave for annual leave but only for their province of origin.

However, the program was suspended following the detection of Covid-19 community transmission earlier this year in January, with tighter travel restriction and lockdowns imposed.

Today there are 30 registered operators from 8 Provinces in the Solomon Islands that are offering Iumi Tugeda Holiday packages.

Any queries can be directed to sustainable@spto.org

Image Credit: Tourism Solomons

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