Headlines
Published On:
By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

The case for change to boost Tourism in Papua New Guinea

Just consider a simple statistic: the global cultural tourism market is valued at $453 billion, with tourists taking some 277 million trips in 2016 alone. And it’s set to expand. Year on year growth in cultural tourism is forecast to be 10 percent over the next decade.

The figures highlight the potential that’s on offer to Papua New Guinea if it seizes the opportunity to invest in a future with a clear focus on attracting niche tourists to the country.

And that focus is a clear message from research by IFC and the Papua New Guinea Tourism Authority, supported by the Australian and New Zealand Governments. It shows with the demand for niche tourism steadily growing abroad, both business and government should embrace the chance for Papua New Guinea to leverage its natural, historical and cultural tourism assets.

It’s a move that would pay off. The research shows that developing niche market tourism has the potential to drive annual visitor numbers from about 32,000 in 2016 to around 86,500 visitors by 2027by focusing on cultural, soft adventure, historical, bird watching, and diving segments.

The clear message is that niche does not mean small.  Some adventure travelers for instance – those who like to go camping, canoeing, cycling, fishing, hiking, kayaking or rafting and sailing, took more than 350 million trips globally in 2016 and in doing so are willing to part with a total of $470 million in pursuit of their favorite activities.

The so-called soft adventure traveler market like the hiker, along with those who like to go bird watching, diving, visiting historical sites and cultural tourism are all identified by the research as the greatest potential for growth in Papua New Guinea.

The research shows that many holiday visitors to Papua New Guinea do take part in cultural activities while in the country. In fact, the figure is at 70 percent of those holidaymakers.  But the cultural experience is not always the main reason they come. Far too few travelled to the country specifically for culture.

And if you talk to some of the people who work in the tourism industry in Papua New Guinea, they are strong advocates for the country to develop its own souvenirs for tourists, as well as step up efforts to preserve Papua New Guinea’s culture.

Papua New Guinea – as they stress – is a country rich in culture and traditions – and that culture should be protected not only for visitors but for the sake of all Papua New Guineans. Culture is lived in many forms from festivals and dance through to art and handcrafts.

And some Papua New Guineans realize the potential of sharing their culture and the value it can bring. One women who runs a handcraft business using natural items like drift wood, sea shells and coconut shells recounts how she started up her business simply because she could not find gifts that were made in Papua New Guinea by local people.

Her business is expanding which is good news for nearby women in local communities, who supply the raw products like seashells or earn money through crocheting on women’s tops or dresses.

The flow-on impact on villages is a powerful argument to advance the need for the country to devote more resources to attracting tourists.  To date, the biggest category of tourists are business travelers. Yet they don’t spend as much as the 25 percent of arrivals who are holiday makers, spending on average $2859 a trip.

And 60 percent of visitors traveled to provinces across Papua New Guinea, showing that tourism can pave the way to helping spur growth in regional economies, spreading the benefits far and wide.

The challenge is now clear. Papua New Guinea which is trailing its regional competitors like Fiji and Vanuatu, needs to look beyond the Australian market to lure people to its country. Investments that can help position Papua New Guinea as a world class tourist destination clearly can yield dividends.

By John Vivian, IFC’s Resident Representative, Papua New Guinea

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on Monday, April 23, 2018. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

Advertisement

Subscribe to Daily News

Enter your email address:

Delivered by PNG Today

© 2017 PNG Today . Powered by Blogger.