The Solomon Islands will welcome eight separate cruise visits in 2016 - a 100 percent increase on its 2015 cruise business.

Vessels visiting Honiara and cruising within the 992-island archipelago this year include Princess' Sea Princess and Dawn Princess, Noble Caledonia’s Caledonia Sky, Silverseas Cruises’ Silver Discoverer, P&O’s Pacific Eden and Seabourn Cruise Lines’ Seabourn Odyssey.

Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) CEO, Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto attributed the increase to the efforts the national tourist office has to gone along with government and local private sector support to turn what he described as a “huge potential into an actual reality.”

Tuamoto also pointed towards a recent visit to Sydney by outgoing Ministry of Culture & Tourism permanent secretary, John Wasi and representatives from the Department of Tourism, the SIVB and the Solomon Islands Port Authority which he said had played a major role in the outcome.

“Tourism is fast emerging as a major driver for the country’s GDP, the government had embarked on a very vigorous process to seize on the opportunity tourism presents and we see cruise as offering huge potential,” Tuamoto said. “We were determined to turn this potential into a hard reality and that is exactly what we are seeing in 2016.”