Sev­eral new de­vel­op­ments—the cre­ation of a tourism hub at Kokopo (and new di­rect in­ter­na­tional flights to ser­vice it) and the start of cruise lin­ers vis­it­ing re­mote Milne Bay—in­di­cate progress is be­ing made to de­velop Pa­pua New Guinea’s tourism in­dus­try.

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Contents -

In 2013, Prime Min­is­ter Peter O’neill an­nounced that Kokopo in East New Bri­tain Prov­ince would be des­ig­nated a tourism hub. Cou­pled with di­rect Air Ni­ug­ini flights from Cairns to the nearby Tokua Air­port, this con­cept has been wel­comed by tourism op­er­a­tors. Syd­ney tourism op­er­a­tor Ruth Dicker of Ni­ug­ini Hol­i­days says Kokopo would be ‘a great des­ti­na­tion hub’ but, as Nick Lyons, Pres­i­dent of the East New Bri­tain Cham­ber of Com­merce warns, im­proved in­fra­struc­ture and an im­prove­ment in the coun­try’s im­age over­seas will be re­quired if the prov­ince is to reap the benefits of ‘huge’ tourism po­ten­tial.

The PNG Gov­ern­ment ap­pears to un­der­stand this: it has re-es­tab­lished a con­sulate in Cairns to pro­vide visa and other ser­vices to po­ten­tial vis­i­tors to PNG, in­clud­ing tourists to East New Bri­tain. It has also backed up the an­nounce­ment with K58 mil­lion for es­sen­tial in­fra­struc­ture in its 2014 Na­tional Bud­get.

Cruise lin­ers

PNG has long been vis­ited by cruise ships but the first of a se­ries of vis­its by Car­ni­val Australia/p&o Cruises’ Pa­cific Dawn to Milne Bay in Oc­to­ber 2013 marked a ramp­ing up of cruise ship busi­ness. Over the next 15 months, P&O will bring six su­per­lin­ers to Alotau and a to­tal of nearly 12,000 tourists.

To ac­com­pany the new ser­vice, Car­ni­val Australia signed with a three-year deal with AUSAID to help boost lo­cal busi­ness tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties in Pa­pua New Guinea and Van­u­atu. The two or­gan­i­sa­tions will also ex­am­ine op­tions for im­prov­ing ac­cess fa­cil­i­ties in the Tro­briand Is­lands and Alotau port. PNG tourism of­fi­cials hope the range of ports will ex­pand. ‘Ar­eas where the cruise ships go will con­tinue to de­velop. Any of th­ese cruise lo­ca­tions will re­ally start to put PNG on

the map with Aus­tralians, as word of mouth spreads,’ says Stu­art Thomp­son, Syd­ney-based Australia-new Zealand Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the PNG Tourism Pro­mo­tion Author­ity (TPA).

‘Is­land ar­eas such as Kavieng in New Ire­land and the Con­flict Is­lands in Milne Bay are so stunning and re­mote. Aus­tralians will soon be look­ing to ex­plore th­ese ar­eas more than ever.’

Other cruise lines op­er­ate in PNG, in­clud­ing Ha­pag-lloyd Cruises, Ja­pan’s NYK Cruises and the spe­cial­ist North Star Cruises Australia, which car­ries only 36 pas­sen­gers to Kavieng or Alotau and pro­vides spe­cial­ist talks from ecol­o­gists and bi­ol­o­gists.

Kokoda Track

For around 3000 Aus­tralians an­nu­ally, the Kokoda Track is pro­vides the main rea­son to visit PNG.

‘One of the main pro­mo­tional fo­cuses of 2014 will be the ‘Do Kokoda’ cam­paign (, which has been de­signed to en­cour­age more Aus­tralians to trek Kokoda and raise aware­ness of the benefits trekking the track has on lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties,’ says Thomp­son.

The of­fi­cial launch of the web­site and cam­paign will take place on AN­ZAC Day 2014.

Out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, such as trekking, div­ing, surf­ing and kayak­ing, and eco-tourism con­tinue to be the main­stays of tourism ac­tiv­ity in PNG, ser­viced by small owner-op­er­a­tors. Surf­ing and div­ing will the fo­cus of ad­di­tional TPA’S pro­mo­tional cam­paigns in 2014.

PNG’S in­dus­try is also reach­ing out to in­ter­na­tional travel agents and whole­salers, hold­ing an well-at­tended in­au­gu­ral trade event, Lukim PNG Nau (see box on right), in Septem­ber 2013.

Es­sen­tial in­fra­struc­ture

While Australia re­mains a pri­mary mar­ket for PNG’S tourism sec­tor, the na­tional car­rier Air Ni­ug­ini now flies to des­ti­na­tions such as In­done­sia, Hong Kong, Ja­pan, the Philip­pines, Solomon Is­lands, Fiji and Sin­ga­pore.

Re­cent in­vest­ment has seen the num­ber of ho­tel rooms in­crease in both Port Moresby and Lae. Port Moresby, has a num­ber of qual­ity ho­tels, in­clud­ing Air­ways Ho­tel, which has won nu­mer­ous in­ter­na­tional awards. R H Group’s new five-star Rain­tree Ho­tel and Suites at the Vi­sion City shop­ping com­plex is due to be fin­ished in 2015 and a smaller air­port ho­tel is also be­ing built. Mean­while, the Hol­i­day Inn in Waigani is be­ing sub­stan­tially ex­panded. In Lae, Horni­book NGI has re­cently opened a new 45room ho­tel aimed at busi­ness peo­ple and tourists.

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