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Tourism Minister Kulang opens 49th APEC tourism Working Group meeting in Kokopo

Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Hon. Tobias Kulang has officially opened the 49th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation-APEC Tourism Working Group Meeting in East New Britain Province’s tourism hub of Kokopo today.
Delegates and officials from the APEC member economies are in Kokopo to discuss issues focused on fostering economic development in the APEC region through sustainable tourism, inclusive growth , developing the tourism workforce, travel facilitation, trade and investment liberalization and advancing tourism numbers within the APEC region.
Minister Kulang told the APEC delegates and officials that Papua New Guinea is much honored to host the meeting for the first time outside of Port Moresby since 1993 when PNG joined APEC.
“The Asia Pacific region is currently the most significant contributor to the advancement and growth of tourism numbers globally and this is reflective of the above average market growth with the region which registered a 9 per cent growth rate within the first four months of the region according to the UN World Tourism Organization.
“I welcome the outcomes from the 9th APEC Tourism Ministers Meeting hosted by Peru in Lima on the 28th and 29th of May this year under the theme “Connecting Asia-Pacific Tourism Through Travel Facilitation” emphasizing air connectivity and travel facilitation as key catalyst to further enhance economic development through travel and tourism in the APEC region.”
He said Papua New Guinea will host APEC in 2018, and the 49th Tourism Working Group Meeting is one of the many lead up meetings.
“The Tourism Working Group Meeting is the first APEC meeting PNG is hosting since 1993 outside the capital, Port Moresby.
“Papua New Guinea is fully committed to working alongside APEC member economies to advance and promote better understanding and recognition of tourism as an engine for economic growth and prosperity, ensure sustainability and inclusive growth in the travel and tourism sector, promote labor, skills development and certification in order to develop the tourism workforce in the region and promote competitiveness and regional integration through policy alignment and structural reform”, he said.
“I look forward to a fruitful meeting and anticipate constructive discussions and ways forward to advance our tourism Industry within the Asia Pacific Region through innovative initiatives and strategies.
“I welcome you all delegates each and every one of you to our PNG’s tourism hub, Rabaul and Kokopo in the beautiful East New Britain Province and wish you all a pleasant stay and hope to see you all again in 2018 when we host the Tourism Working Group 52 and Tourism Ministers Meeting 10,” Minister Kulang said.
Minister Kulang also said that he will ensure the discussions emanating from the 49th Tourism Working Group meeting will be used to formulate into PNG’s tourism promotion initiatives.
“I will make sure we will go through the record of discussions amongst the delegates from the APEC member economies that have a lot of experiences in the tourism sector and we adopt some of their comments and discussions to improve our tourism market and destination.
“We will work closely with the Tourism Promotion Authority including our provincial tourism bureaus to learn from some of the discussions coming out of the meeting,” he said.
Minister Kulang also praised the work of the East New Britain Provincial Administration has done under the leadership of Governor Eremas ToBaining Jnr to host the meeting.
“I am very impressed with the work and effort put in by the organizers in the East New Britain Provincial Administration to host an APEC meeting and such meetings like this bring recognition to our provinces and cities.
“This is a further confidence boost to us especially for Kokopo as it is one of the forerunners in tourism destination development in the country and for Kokopo to host this meeting is an added bonus to the growth of tourism in the province.
“I as the Minister responsible for Tourism in the country I am very excited and happy that one of our cities outside of Port Moresby has gained the recognition to host an APEC meeting.
“On behalf of the Government of Papua New Guinea I thank the East New Britain Provincial Administration for hosting our APEC delegates and the meeting.
The 49th APEC Tourism Working Group Meeting ends on Friday.

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