The Australian government has announced a new initiative to boost private sector investment in a broader economy. The Strongim Bisnis initiative was launched as part of the country’s $50 million Solomon Islands Growth Program.

Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Keith Pitt announced the initiative on Tuesday at the 9th Australia Solomon Islands Business Forum. He said it will see the government, the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and private sectors work towards further growth in the cocoa, coconut and tourism sectors.

Pitt said these sectors have good potential to penetrate several international markets. They can also bring inclusive growth because these sectors are rooted in family and community systems of production.

The release of the Solomon Islands Handicraft Video and Vendor Guide was up to support Solomon Islands’ growing cruise ship industry. It was produced by the Pacific Horticulture and Agriculture Market Access (PHAMA) program.

The video will serve as an educational material to inform tourists about Australian and New Zealand quarantine requirements. For its development, design and filming, Carnival Australia teamed up with PHAMA as part of the cruise line’s more comprehensive partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It will be played on Carnival Australia’s cruise ships that visit Solomon Islands.

Pitt said the government hopes that educating tourists about the benefits of purchasing locally-made artefacts will help generate economic opportunities while maintaining biosecurity integrity. In relation to this, he discussed the Phase Two of the Solomon Islands Biosecurity Development Program. It will help Solomon Islanders meet the biosecurity requirements of export markets.

Ann Sherry, the executive chairman of Carnival Australia, has welcomed the news, saying cruising was a way for budding destinations in the South Pacific to build up their shore tours. It is also a way to develop artisan products and offerings for other tourists. “Over the past two years, we have brought about 20,000 tourists to the Solomon Islands who are by-and-large first-time visitors experiencing the culture and amazing work by the local artisans, the natural wonders and crystal clear water all the while getting a history lesson,” she has stated in a media release.

Sherry added that Carnival Australia has realised one of its roles to encourage shore-based tour operators to utilise cruising as a way of developing a broader offering. Others involved in tourism may also do the same to support overall efforts to attract tourists.

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