HUNDREDS of students and staff of the Solomon Islands National University Tourism Institute and Hospitality have celebrated the World Tourism Day on the Thursday 27th of September in Honiara.
Andrew Nihopara, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said that World Tourism Day is intended to highlight the wide reach of tourism into many sectors from infrastructure and energy to transport and sanitation as well as mark its huge impact on job creation.
Tourism should be a vital contributor to the 2023 agenda for sustainable development, he said.
The day also provided an opportunity to reflect on a pivotal role tourism plays in advancing cultural understanding and bringing people together.
“Yet tourism needs innovation in technology to realize its potential contributions. Its benefits need to flow to host communities. Governments can help to connect start-ups with investors to facilitate innovation, entrepreneurship, employment and a truly exclusive tourism sector,” Nihopara said.
Speaking on this year’s tourism theme ‘Tourism and digital transformation’ he said digital technologies had brought positive drive to societies and economies around the world.
“They have connected us on a global level, help to empower the most vulnerable and become our crucial allies for sustainable development.
“We co-exist with a global audience and globalized society today and this has been enhanced by the digital era.”
The digital transformation had brought new horizons and new opportunities in the way the tourism business was conducted.
But tourism needed to continue to capitalize on all the opportunities to harness digital transformation, he said.
He said the challenge for the government, through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, was to continue to harness the power of digital transformation for good while safeguarding against the risks.
“On this Tourism Day I’d like to call upon the government to support digital technologies that can transform the way we travel, reduce the ecological burden of tourism and bring the benefit of tourism to all,” he said.