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Security issues hinder tourism growth in Papua New Guinea, says PM Marape

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has declared that law-and-order issues are the major hindrance to PNG’s tourism industry progress and growth.
“Law-and-order woes and issues must be effective and adequately addressed for our tourism industry to really flourish,” he told The National in an interview soon after his election as the country’s 8th prime minister.
Rapid Growing Papua New Guinea Capital Port Moresby : Photo source: pngfacts.com
“I don’t see a massive erosion in our cultural heritage over the next 10 to 15 years (to attract tourists),” he said.
“We will still maintain it (cultural heritage).
That leads us to prioritise our agriculture sector and industry. When people see money in coffee, cocoa, growing cabbages and broccoli, going into their pockets, they will treasure living in peace and harmony.
“We hope to turn all these around in five years. Our country can then become safer and, naturally, tourism will also “That (tourism) is something that is really big out there but you can’t talk about tourism when we have a law-and-order issues and problems.
“It (tourism) is there, let’s work on it, but let’s transfer money to our people in other areas first. Of course, we will help to grow established tourism destinations, such as Madang.
“It is something that we will work on for progress and growth of our tourism industry and to bring in foreign revenue,” he added.
Although latest research shows PNG’s tourism industry is on the rise with 95,000 air travellers and K690 million in spending, it is far inferior to Fiji which netted some K3 billion last year.
And last year, the figures were likely up due to the hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit.
The research was attributed to World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) in May 2019.
The air arrivals were part of about 195,000 international visitors, with the overall figure including people arriving by cruise ships as well as those who arrived in the country for short and long-term employment.
The International Visitor Survey (IVS) undertaken by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with the PNG Tourism Association and the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute, shows that visitors arriving by air for tourism, business and to visit friends and relatives increased by 10% from 2017.
The biggest spending by those 95,000 visitors, was for accommodation, airfares, food and drinks.
Business travellers are still the largest group of visitors, making up 50% of people arriving by air.
“While the research shows visitors nominated safety and security as well as infrastructure as key areas for improvement, it is significant that more than 90% of people said they would return to the country,” IFC resident representative for PNG John Vivian said.
But the overall research shows PNG remains heavily reliant on the Australian market for visitors, with Australians accounting for just over half of all the visitors,” he added.
Australians are predominately visiting the key tourism sites in the Central and Northern provinces with keen interest in historical and adventure tourism.
“Tourism cuts across all sectors and needs concerted efforts of relevant sector agencies to address issues such as law and order and infrastructure developments,” PNG TPA chief executive officer Jerry Agus said.
“Every Papua New Guinean is also encouraged to embrace the importance of tourism by doing their bit to help lift the image and profile of the country as this responsibility does not revolve around only the Government and TPA,” he added.
The research points to increasing interest by visitors to travel to provinces like Central, Morobe and Northern, with a 25% rise in the number of visitors to Milne Bay and a 17% increase in visitors to East New Britain.
Both areas are designated as future key tourism destinations, bringing in millions of kina to local economies.
The 2018 IVS also explored niche market tourism for the first time – adventure and cultural tourists, accounting for some 20% of holidaymakers.  The National/PTA

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