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Read the Wilderness Case Study

About the company

The ECF grant will enable Wilderness Lodge to double guest accommodation and expand site infrastructure. The project will also incorporate expansion and strengthening of the human resources of the business, including hospitality training of staff in conjunction with other ecotourism operations.

Total grant funding approved: ECF A$198,450

About the project

The Wilderness Lodge is a 100 per cent locally owned eco-lodge situated on a coral lagoon at the south eastern tip of Western Province in the Solomon Islands. Wilderness Lodge is located next to some of the world’s richest and most intact coral reefs and tropical rainforest habitats. The business has been operating since 2002 and has experienced strong demand from eco-tourists but did not have the resources to undertake the required expansion.

Results December 2012

  • Construction and lodge refurbishment at Wilderness Lodge is complete and accommodation facilities have increased from 8 to 16 beds. The team is seeing increased visits from tourists and is making an increased profit.
  • These profits are invested into improving the facility further and developing a supply chain of tourism goods and services from the local communities.
  • Hospitality training of staff, in partnership with Uepi Island Resort, Tetepare Eco Lodge and Biche and Zaira Villages, has already benefited eight female staff.
  • Training for local construction workers in use of power tools and equipment reduced construction costs.
  • Installation of VSAT internet station to enable effective communications with booking office.
  • Doubling of employment from 2010 to 2013, 65% of whom are women.
  • Establishment of scuba diving facilities and training of indigenous Dive Instructor and Divemasters.
  • The success of this project will help boost the tourism industry in a region previously impacted by social unrest.

The project’s close links with communities, training of local people to undertake key roles in the business and comprehensive environment protection strategy, represent a model that can be replicated in other Solomon Islands locations and elsewhere.