K1 billion potential in Tourism
By Gorethy Kenneth
PAPUA New Guinea can become the leading tourism hub of the Pacific and generate more than K1 billion a year if recommendations of a study on cruise tourism are implemented.
The study was done by the World Bank affiliate International Finance Corporation which released its assessment of economic impact of cruise tourism in PNG and the Solomon Islands was presented in Kokopo yesterday.
It showed that A$5.7 million (K14.2 million) was generated as direct economic impact from the cruise tourism industry last year undertaken in Alotau, Rabaul, Kitava, Doini Island and Kiriwina and this amount was likely to increase.
The study showed that A$2.3 million was spent in Rabaul alone while the rest of the money was shared by Alotau ($2.4m), Kiriwina ($0.3m) and Kitava ($0.2m),
The report said that in order for cruise ship and tourism to prosper businesses should work with each other, government, tourism bodies and banks.
Businesses further from ports felt that tourists did not know about them; some were unaware of ship schedules.
Kokopo’s potential needed to be shared with cruise passengers in greater detail, the report said.
It said locals should be educated on what tourists want, and on commercial acumen. “Need to educate the locals on what is needed for tourists.
“The town is not quite ready for tourists. There is not enough education and training of locals.
“Many passengers are willing to take the risk but many are not especially with bigger, more expensive purchases.”
“There is no tourist website for Rabaul, it needs more advertising abroad which should be done by the local tourism board.
“There needs to be more information and more maps for tourists as well as easier transport – [the business] get very few visitors from the cruise ships.
“There is an historical society in Rabaul – the cruise ships should contact them to help train tour guides who currently only give basic or incorrect information.”
Worldwide, cruise tourism generates an estimated US$18 billion a year in passenger expenditure and has been the faster growing sector of the travel industry in recent years