Solomon Islands eyes MICE growth after success of SPUMS annual conference

The South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society’s (SPUMS) 48th Annual Scientific Meeting in Honiara last month has been hailed a major success.

Tourism Solomons CEO Josefa “Jo” Tuamoto praised the efforts of SPUMS co-ordinator Australia-based Diveplanit Travel for its efforts in successfully coordinating the event, which was the biggest ever-dive related conference staged in the Solomon Islands to date.

“Hosting SPUMS in the Solomon Islands has presented up with an excellent opportunity to showcase our expertise in successfully delivering a major convention,” he said.

“We have long identified the MICE sector as playing a major role in the ‘Tourism Big Three’ – generation of foreign exchange, employment and foreign investment.

“And while our overall MICE activity is still relatively small, being able to demonstrate our capability in this area to a major international audience, as has been the case with SPUMS, stands us in very good stead as we look to further capitalise on this potentially lucrative sector.

“Judging from the feedback received from the delegates, and the word of mouth we know is already filtering out from this event, the real winner at the end of the day is the Solomon Islands dive industry, which we are confident now stands to benefit for many years to come.”

Spread across five days of practical morning dive sessions near to Honiara and in Tulagi, followed by scientific meetings every afternoon in the Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel, SPUMS attracted more than 100 delegates from as far afield as Australia, South Africa, the Middle East and the US.

The task of catering to this large group of divers was managed by Diveplanit Travel with help from many local businesses, including local transport operator Travel Solomons and Dive Munda, which stepped in to assist the Tulagi Dive team with additional dive guide support.

Describing the management of the event as a “mammoth undertaking”, Diveplanit’s Simon Mallender acknowledged the tremendous support received from Solomon Islands’ Ministry for Culture and Tourism and Tourism Solomons.

“We’re incredibly thankful to the ministry and Tourism Solomons for their unwavering support,” he said.

“We’d also like to say a massive thank you to the local business support received from Travel Solomons, Tulagi Dive, Raiders Hotel and Dive and Dive Munda, all of which stepped up the challenge of managing such a large group of divers.”