Tourism Solomon Islands has some amazing domestic holiday packages advertised and illustrated by beautiful holiday spots and I hope many in the Solomon Islands have taken the opportunity of visiting the places temptingly on offer, or are planning to do so soon.
I would especially encourage domestic travel while international travel is largely on hold due to border closures arising from the tough measures in place in many countries to prevent Covid-19.
Solomon Islands has traditionally seen most foreign arrivals from Australia prior to the coronavirus pandemic but not for some considerable time and the economy at home has suffered and continues to do so while the Covid-19 concerns remain internationally.
Some news which was published in the Daily Mail today for readers in Australia gave information, if it can really be relied upon, that might further delay the Solomon Islands welcoming Australians back.
I will quote some of the extracts from the article which, in its entirety was lengthy.
“Australia won't open its borders even AFTER everyone is vaccinated.”
Written by Ross Ibbetson and Zoe Zaczek and Levi Parsons for Daily Mail Australia
Australia may not open up its borders even after everyone in the country has been vaccinated against coronavirus in an attempt to sustain its 'Zero Covid' strategy, the country's health minister has revealed.
'Vaccination alone is no guarantee that you can open up,' Greg Hunt said on Tuesday. 'If the whole country were vaccinated, you couldn't just open the borders.'
The health minister cited a range of other relevant factors, including transmissibility and the longevity of vaccine protection - and some Australians commentators have speculated it could mean years of border controls.
Australia has recorded just 29,437 just coronavirus cases and 910 deaths since the pandemic started after closing its borders in March 2020 and imposing tough lockdown rules and a 'Zero Covid' strategy that aims to totally eliminate the virus.
A few cases of the virus have resulted in strict city-wide lockdowns in Australia including one that saw crowds banned from the Australian Open tennis tournament.
Australian economist Chris Richardson said that travel to Australia may not reach its pre-pandemic levels until 2024 and anticipates 'weak; demand into 2022 with some sort of quarantine remaining for incoming travellers for some time.
Not only does the closure stop Australians from going abroad for holidays or to visit loved ones, it has also left a multi-billion dollar hole in the economy and the tourism industry in ruins.
Australia currently allows travellers from New Zealand into the country, and Auckland is set to reciprocate with a 'travel bubble' due to start on April 19. But all other travellers must quarantine for two weeks.
Speaking about the border rules, Australian Sky News host Rita Panahi, who told viewers: 'It's basically saying we're still going to be closed off from the rest of the world.
With more than 23 million cases still active on the planet, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to make any apologies for his border restrictions.
'It's not safe right now to open up our international borders. Around the world, COVID-19 is still rife,' he said on Monday.
'We are still seeing increases in daily cases, particularly in the developing world... but around the world, it is still a very dangerous situation because of Covid.'
Deloitte economist Chris Richardson anticipates there will be some sort of quarantine remaining for incoming travellers for some time.
'That keeps international travel - both inbound and outbound - pretty weak in 2022, and it may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024,' he said.
End of quote.