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Discussions Underway for an Australian NRL Match to be played in Papua New Guinea: PNGTPA

 By Kevin Teme 

A planned meeting between PNG Tourism Promotion Authority and the relevant concerned authorities and partners in bringing an Australian National Rugby Leagure (NRL) Premiership round to Papua New Guinea in the year 2024/2025 went successful on the weekend during the magic round in Brisbane.

This is in light of PNGTPA’s drive to develop  Sports Tourism in PNG through its MICE program. Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions; an area which they believe can showcase PNG to the world. and generate greater awareness about PNG as a desirable tourism destination.

Image: L-R: David Rawling (Justin Olam's Manager), Simon Pih (TPA rep), Trip-A-Deal Founder Managing Director Norm Black, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Hon Isi Henry Leonard, TPA CEO, Eric Mossman Uvovo and TPA's Marketing DIrector Alice Kuaningi during one of their meeting with Norm Black. PIcture by KEVIN TEME in Brisbane 

“There are massive benefits from Sports Tourism given the bigger picture of how sports can come into play especially with rugby league, where it is widely followed right across our country,” Eric Uvovo, the Chief Executive officer of PNGTPA said.

To start off this great journey to ensure an NRL match is played in PNG, a group of PNG delegates led by Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Hon. Isi Henry Leonard, TPA’s Executive Officer Eric Uvovo and two of his staff from the Marketing Division, Director Marketing, Alice Kuaningi and Marketing Officer, Simon Pih  met  with the NRL and relevant partners during the Magic round in Brisbane. The meetings were to discuss a way forward in bringing an NRL premiership round to PNG in 2024/2025.

The journey and dialogue started off last year when TPA came on board sponsoring PNGRFL for its world Cup campaign and also getting in touch with PNG rugby league icon and current Melbourne Storms star Justin Olam to be TPA’s Tourism Brand Ambassador.

TPA also met Mr. Norm Black, the Founder, Managing Director of Trip-A-Deal, NRLs Mr. Shaun McMartin CFO, NRL  Vaughan Vitale (Government partnership) and others was a step in the right direction putting together what needs to be done in order that the aim and goal of hosting a NRL Match in PNG look certain.

The meeting was organised and facilitated by David Rawlings, the current Manager for Justin Olam.

PNGTPA CEO Uvovo thanked Rawlings for his time and effort in ensuring the meeting with the respective rugby league people were meaningful.

“We thank David for organising these important meetings looking forward to our continued dialogue to ensure we achieve the outcome of our plans,” said Uvovo.

Minister for Tourism, Arts & Culture, Hon. Isi Henry Leonard who also attended the meetings, gave his undertaking that he will support PNGTPA with this initiative. He further stated that he will brief his colleague Minister for Sports and other relevant PNG agencies to work with PNGTPA in implementing this brilliant concept of Sports Tourism starting off with an NRL match.//  

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