MSG aviation and tourism experts set eyes on multi-tourism destination packages and aviation upgrades
The Melanesian Spearhead Group Second Aviation and Tourism Dialogue began Thursday 10 March in Port Vila at the MSG Secretariat.
The two-day meeting is a follow-up meeting to provide a platform for members to continue with their discussions on some of the key issues, challenges and opportunities being faced by member countries such as Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea.
The Director General of the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Industries, Tourism and Cooperatives of Vanuatu, Mr Marokon Alilee officially opened the meeting on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu.
Mr Alilee in his opening remarks reminded members that the MSG being a growing aviation market - is now the leader in handling domestic and international passengers with international airlines operating to the MSG members with carriers connecting over 20 countries in this region. He urged members to spend time during this dialogue on a future MSG Tourism Marketing Brand framework saying colleague Ministers of Tourism will look forward to strategies to achieve these initiatives to be resolved from this important meeting.
In support of Mr Alilee’s statement the Chair of the MSG Aviation and Tourism Dialogue and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Communication and Aviation of Solomon Islands, Mr Moses Virivolomo said this dialogue forum provides members with an excellent platform to allow technical and policy makers to interact, discuss and make relevant important decisions on aviation and tourism matters that directly affect small economies in the MSG region. He added that this partnership and sharing of information between airlines now plays a crucial role in ensuring that the connectivity of airlines between members continues to grow and discussions on issues such as airfare reduction and tourist packages continue to help members increase tourist and investor interests to member countries.
“Our aviation industry and tourism sector are therefore inter-connected and inter-dependent – they complement each other,” emphasized Mr Virivolomo.
Officer in Charge of the MSG Secretariat Mr John Licht on behalf of the Secretariat also reiterated the need for more connectivity and the increasing number of flights to each member country. He added that aviation has been a growing industry for the people of Melanesia and visitors to move around easily and increasing economic activities for the region.
“Given the emerging challenges faced in terms of aviation safety and competing tourism markets, and need to boost trade, it is important that MSG aviation and tourism stakeholders continue to dialogue and remain open to and explore and agree on feasible options for further cooperation towards improving their air services agreement, reduce costs and continue with their to enhance intra-MSG connectivity,” said Mr Licht.
Mr Licht said the meeting will also deliberate on the current Air Services Agreements as a way forward in enhancing airline connectivity between MSG countries.
Mr Licht concluded that the outcomes of this meeting will be forwarded to the Sub-Committee of Economic and Finance Officials Meeting before it is brought to the attention of the Trade Economic Officials Meeting (TEOM) scheduled for April this year.
Port Vila, Republic of Vanuatu