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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Tourism Minister announces government's Tourism Zone Policy Initiative

Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Arts, Culture and Tourism  Tobias Kulang has announced a major policy initiative by the government to promote a ‘Tourism Zone Initiative’’ in the country.
Minister Kulang said this after he officiated at the 49th APEC Tourism Working Group Meeting in the tourism hub of Kokopo in PNG’s East New Britain, on Wednesday this week.
Delegates from the 21 APEC member economies and experts on tourism within the APEC region are in Kokopo to discuss the development of sustainable tourism, workforce and skills development and certification of labor in tourism.

‘’It’s a major tourism development policy we are pushing and it’s called the ‘Tourism Zone Development Initiative’ to make certain provinces become tourism hot spots in the country.
“We want Kokopo in East New Britain and Alotau in Milne Bay province as the two most provinces apart from Mt Hagen in the Western Highlands to come under this policy initiative especially for cruise tourism.
“We are focusing on these three main cities, Kokopo, Alotau and Mt Hagen as the main focus of our tourist destination spots in the country.

“The main things we want to do is to support and fund and ensure that there are proper tourism infrastructure, facilities and things that will improve the over-all image of these provinces to attract more tourists into these provinces and the country.
“What we are trying to do is improve the infrastructure that will support those businesses in the tourism sector to offer better and improved services to our international and local tourists as well,” Minister Kulang said.
He said that the government has made some effort to dispense some millions of kina to Kokopo and Alotau to develop their sea ports, wharves and airports and the thanked the private sectors investment in these sectors.
Minister Tobias Kulang whilst in Kokopo also launched the Cruise Tourism Report 2015 for PNG which shows that Alotau and Kokopo are taking a lead in the cruise ship tourism sector in the country.
The ‘Assessment of the Economic Impact of Cruise Tourism in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands’ report was funded by the International Finance Corporation-IFC, AusAid and the Carnival cruise ship group.
It indicated that in 2015 the direct impact of cruise tourism in Kokopo, Rabaul, and Alotau stood at around 5 million Australian dollars and half of that come from cruise operators and went to the government as revenue mainly through port fees.

It also noted that it has created more than 200 jobs in these provinces.
Minister Tobias Kulang said such reports are good as it indicated a list of things the country and the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority-PNG TPA and stakeholders need to do to improve on to attract tourists and make them feel safe and enjoy their stay’.
“Some of the issues addressed in the report which was cofounded by IFC and AusAid are issues relevant to these provinces will be addressed by their provincial tourism bureaus and administration.
“I am also happy to announce that one of the world’s biggest cruise ship the Carnival and P&O group has indicated that they will like to make Wewak and Madang as the next port of call and are focused on bringing international tourists to these provinces.

“They have sent us a list of issues we need to address and improve on and we are looking at that and once we have addressed them we will notify them,” he said.
“We want the provincial governments and the leadership of these particular provinces, Madang and Wewak to consult the tourism office and my office to have access to the list of things Carnival Group have raised so that we can all work together to prepare these ports for visitation by those ships and to bring tourists into the country and those provinces.
“Cruise tourism brings a lot of tourists at one go into the country and the perception the tourists bring back to their countries is very important to our marketing and growth of these sector in our country”.
Minister Kulang said that some 30 per cent of these tourists who come by cruise ships return by air to see other destinations and or return and this is according to the cruise ship study.
“I want to strongly recommend to these and our sea port towns in the country and the stakeholders to understand such reports and improve on our tourism service deliver.
“I have visited many parts of the country when I was appointed Minister for Arts, Culture and Tourism and one thing that is missing is the lack of collaboration amongst the sector and state institutions to support the growth of tourism in our country.
“The provincial governments are not engaging with the private sector who is taking the lead in tourism activities.
“It’s about time the provincial government understands and support because tourism provides employment to our people and brings in money into the country and provinces”.
He said that at the moment Kokopo and Alotau are taking an active role and play a major role in cruise tourism in attracting a lot of international travelers and tourists in this sector.

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 6:52 AM. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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