Honiara, Solomon Islands – The 75th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanalhas been attributed as the key factor in the Solomon Islands recording its biggest ever August visitor intake since arrival records began.
A total of 2589 visitors arrived in August, the figure representing a 34.98 per cent increase over the net increase over the 1916 recorded in August 2016 with marked increases seen from Australia, the US, New Zealand and particularly Japan.
Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau CEO, Josefa 'Jo' Tuamoto said the 75th anniversary had undoubtedly played a major role in the result.
"Given the huge amount of effort which went into promoting the event on a world-wide basis, we were confident of an increase in our international visitors so the result is very pleasing indeed," Mr Tuamoto said.
"Our amazing WWII history, our well-preserved battlefields and our war museums continue to prove a major attraction and especially, the huge amount of sunken ships and aircraft which have made us such a mecca for the international dive market.
"The Solomon Islanders played a key role in the Guadalcanal campaign and are incredibly proud that their country was the place where freedom was fought for and ultimately won for the South Pacific region."
Australian figures again continued to dominate, the 6425 figure recorded for August a 3.4 per cent increase over the 2016 total of 6211 and representing 35.41 of all visitation for the month.
A total of 1125 US passport holders, a 5.63 per cent increase over the 1065 recorded last year, visited across the month, many of these US military personnel on hand for the commemorative events and additionally, the families of US veterans who fought in the Guadalcanal campaign.
It was a similar story with New Zealand which also played a major role in the Solomon Islands during WWII. A total of 1108 Kiwis visited in August, a 5.63 per cent increase over the 1065 August 2016 intake.
Japanese arrivals jumped from 322 in August 2016 to 474, an increase of 47.2 per cent, with almost all of the visitors, alike their US counterparts, relatives of the Japanese military who fought in the campaign.
The August 2017 figure has played a key role in keeping the destination well on track for a positive year end with the 16,190 international visitor tally recorded for the period January to August representing an 8.27 increase over the 14,953 figure recorded for the same period in 2016.