SITIDF channels emergency aid to tourism sector
Posted on June 23, 2020 at 09:00 AM in Solomon Islands Tourism
The Solomon Islands Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund (SITIDF) is providing emergency funds to approved tourism operators. These emergency funds will help to reduce the severity of COVID-19’s economic impact on tourism operators and ensure that Solomon Islands is well placed to welcome international visitors immediately once borders reopen.
The SITIDF funding has been provided by the New Zealand Government and the Australian Government initiative, Strongim Bisnis, will provide implementation and monitoring support.
New Zealand High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, H.E. Georgina Roberts said “New Zealand is a firm supporter of growing the tourism sector in the Solomon Islands, and we know operators are currently under severe financial strain. Through this additional support, we are able to complement the Government’s response to the financial impacts of COVID-19 and continue to assist with Solomon Islands’ economic recovery.”
Chairman/Board Member of SITIDF and Solomon Airlines CEO, Brett Gebers said “The current international flight suspensions impact all aspects of life in the Solomon Islands, especially within tourism.”
“The SITIDF was conceived in 2017 to provide interest-free loans to resorts for renovations and to aid improvement of tourism infrastructure within the Solomon Islands,” he said.
“Our vision is a stronger future tourism industry for Solomon Islands and loans provided to date have resulted in the successful development of several tourism establishments across the Solomon Islands” he added.
In light of the severity of COVID-19’s impact on tourism operators, the SITIDF Board determined a framework to redirect funds to provide emergency assistance to approved tourism operators.
Australian High Commission Economic Counsellor, Andrew Schloeffel said “Australia is proud to support this initiative. Tourism will play an important role in Solomon Islands’ economic recovery and diversification. Our contribution to the SITIDF highlights our strong partnership with Solomon Islands during challenging economic times.”
The SITIDF’s short-term emergency grants will assist tourism industry operators to retain employees and maintain facilities and assets until the Government tourism stimulus package is finalised. Initial payments to applicants approved by the SITIDF Board of Trustees have been made by the fund administrator.
Grants have been provided to tourism operators who have invested in their own operations to become viable establishments that are attractive to international tourists. These establishments are considered anchors of the industry, essential to maintaining Solomon Islands’ international tourism offerings. Recipients include tourism operators in Western, Central, and Isabel Provinces.
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