Fuseworks Media

Financial Literacy Training positively impacts Solomon Islands tourism operators

HONIARA, Solomon Islands – Jeremiah Loleke, owner of the Marovo Sea Lodge in Western Province, Solomon Islands, faced the brunt of the pandemic’s impact, struggling to keep his business afloat. However, thanks to the Introductory Business Management and Financial Literacy Training funded by the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus, his outlook has shifted.

“This training is a first for me. Since I started in the tourism industry, I have not participated in a Financial Literacy Training for tourism operators. This training has taught me the fundamentals which I will use to grow Marovo Sea Lodge,” said Mr. Loleke.

Marovo Sea Lodge is one of many accommodations that benefited from this initiative to enhance financial literacy within the tourism sector of the Solomon Islands. This initiative, which commenced last year, aims to build financial management capabilities of local tourism operators, making their businesses more sustainable and increasing their capacity to deliver quality services.

In collaboration with the Tourism Division under the Solomon Islands Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the training program focuses on equipping participants with essential bookkeeping skills, promoting effective cash management strategies, and fostering a culture of savings for long-term business sustainability.

The training program was delivered over two phases. Phase one, completed in August 2023, saw over 70 participants from beach operators on the western side of Honiara in Guadalcanal Province receive training on fundamental financial literacy skills such as bookkeeping and savings management. Building on this success, phase two delivered training in Marovo Lagoon (Seghe) as well as Gizo and Munda from 7-15 March 2024, targeting managers and administrators from over 50 different lodges and accommodations across Western Province.

The Solomon Islands’ tourism industry predominantly comprises small, locally owned businesses, constituting 70 percent of the sector, with the remaining 30 percent being foreign-owned enterprises. However, a significant challenge faced by local businesses is the lack of financial literacy and mismanagement due to limited experience and training.

Phase two of the training program aims to address these challenges by enhancing the knowledge and skills of business managers and administrators in financial literacy, cash management, and record keeping. By encouraging the utilisation of savings schemes and programs for business growth, the initiative seeks to empower owners to operate more efficiently and sustainably, fostering a greater financial independence within the industry.

Mr. Philip Sukibuka, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, was pleased at the outcome of the training.

“The Financial Literacy Training will benefit the accommodation operators in the Western Province and will no doubt benefit the tourism sector in the Solomon Islands. We want to empower these operators with financial management skills to support their businesses. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received from the participants; I’m pleased to say that we’ve achieved that. We are grateful for the support from PACER Plus, and we look forward to their continued partnership as we work towards strengthening the tourism sector in Solomon Islands,” said Mr. Sukibuka.

 

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