How can Papua New Guinea tourism realise its true potential

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It is a little disheartening to see that tourism in the country provides less than 1% to GDP.  It’s disheartening because when you seriously consider the many experiences and opportunities Papua New Guinea offers as a tourism destination, the contribution is insignificant.

Having said that, the statistics as laid out by Deputy Governor of Bank of PNG Benny Popoitai in an article published by Radio New Zeland (see below) should be taken in a positive light and solutions should be designed to overcome the core problems.

In our experience in dealing with tourism issues, two main factors have always been highlighted by tourists: security and cost.  There are other problems too such as infrastructure but crime and cost of travel is impediments to increasing arrivals and of course revenue.

So what should be done about it?  Tell us.

Market in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The deputy governor of the Bank of PNG Benny Popoitai made the revelations in a speech at the opening of new tourism accommodation in Madang.

Of the 184 countries surveyed for the report, PNG was ranked last in terms of the economic benefits.

Mr Popoitai said in PNG during 2014, tourism’s direct contribution to GDP was less than one per cent and its total contribution accounted for just 2.1 per cent, compared to the global average of 3.1 per cent direct and 9.8% including indirect contributions.

He said that similarly tourism sector employment represented only 0.5 per cent of the total and when adding indirect effects, it generated only 1.8 per cent of the total employment – compared to 3.6% and 9.4% globally.

PNG holds only 10 per cent of the regional tourism market share by contrast to Fiji which holds an impressive 41 per cent and this is “despite it being as big as Milne Bay”.

The bank official said that the statistics demonstrate that PNG had a lot to learn from Fiji before tourism can become a catalyst for growth in the country.

Source: Radio New Zealand

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