TOURISM PNG’S ‘sleep­ing gi­ant’

PNG’S tourism stocks are look­ing up as

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Tourism -

If ever Port Moresby had good rea­son to charge ahead with tourism in­fras­truc­ture, it is the APEC Sum­mit sched­uled for the na­tion’s cap­i­tal in 2018.

The sum­mit will at­tract thou­sands of vis­i­tors, in­clud­ing pow­er­ful lead­ers from 21 APEC coun­tries. Among them will be pres­i­dents and prime min­is­ters from the US, Rus­sia, China, Ja­pan, Aus­tralia and In­done­sia.

PNG’S Prime Min­is­ter, Peter O’neill, has said the sum­mit rep­re­sents a ‘com­ing of age’ for PNG on the international stage.

Ho­tel ca­pac­ity

It also rep­re­sents a com­ing of age for Port Moresby, in terms of ho­tel ca­pac­ity.

It has long been the view that the city has a short­age of rooms, a view en­dorsed by the PNG APEC 2018 Co­or­di­na­tion Author­ity, which quickly iden­ti­fied the short­age of rooms as a key chal­lenge.

High room costs, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the PNG LNG project con­struc­tion boom, have also been viewed as a prob­lem. Well, there is good news. There has been a flurry of ho­tel in­vest­ment and de­vel­op­ment in Port Moresby since the an­nounce­ment that APEC is com­ing to town.

Forth­com­ing open­ings in­clude RH Group’s 433-room Stan­ley Ho­tel and PNG’S first Hil­ton Ho­tel, both in Waigani dis­trict. The year 2015 saw the open­ing of the Hol­i­day Inn Ex­press bud­get ho­tel, while other ho­tels in the cap­i­tal, such as the Gate­way and Air­ways, have ex­panded or ren­o­vated.

On the out­skirts of Port Moresby, the Loloata Dive Re­sort is un­der­go­ing a to­tal re­build and, when fin­ished, will pro­vide the first se­ri­ous re­sort ex­pe­ri­ence close to the cap­i­tal.

Then there’s the gi­ant Paga Hill Es­tate, a har­bour­side de­vel­op­ment that will not only pro­vide Port Moresby with

with the ar­rivals and de­par­tures ar­eas re­ceiv­ing ma­jor up­grades.

The air­port, ad­di­tion­ally, has a new re­tail sec­tion with lux­ury brands, duty free and lo­cally made hand­i­crafts avail­able.

The de­vel­op­ments bode well for the na­tional air­line, Air Ni­ug­ini, which has the goal of Port Moresby be­com­ing a re­gional hub for the South Pa­cific.

The Chair­man of the air­line, Sir Fredrick Rei­her, says the Na­tional Gov­ern­ment has taken a vi­sion­ary ap­proach in the re­de­vel­op­ment and up­grad­ing of Jack­sons International Air­port.

‘The im­pres­sive re­de­vel­op­ment of Jack­sons Air­port is mak­ing pas­sen­ger movement much more cus­tomer-friendly and will con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to our goal of mak­ing Port Moresby the re­gional gate­way from our Pa­cific neigh­bours with Asia and the world. The up­grad­ing of do­mes­tic air­ports will also ben­e­fit our op­er­a­tions and en­able us to ex­pand ser­vices as de­mand grows.’

Sir Fred­er­ick has also urged the tourism in­dus­try to keep costs down. ‘One of the fac­tors that has in­hib­ited tourism growth since in­de­pen­dence has been the rel­a­tively high cost of most PNG’S rich and colour­ful cal­en­dar of cul­tural events in­cludes the Goroka Show, the Mount Ha­gen Show, the Crocodile Fes­ti­val and the Na­tional Kenu [Ca­noe] and Kundu Fes­ti­val.

Kokoda re­mains a ma­jor tourist at­trac­tion, along with ac­tiv­i­ties such as div­ing, surf­ing, bird watch­ing and game fish­ing.

In an­other pos­i­tive tourism de­vel­op­ment, a re­lax­ation of tourist visa rules for Aus­tralians is on the cards for late 2016.

It’s likely that visas will be avail­able on ar­rival when Air Ni­ug­ini starts di­rect ser­vices into spe­cial tourist zones such as Gur­ney-alotau. 

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.