Papua New Guinea’s newly appointed Tourism Minister paid a brief courtesy call to the South Pacific Tourism Organisation yesterday pledging he would be supporting more SPTO activities and ensuring PNG’s marketing presence would elevate the unknown tourist destination.
Honourable Tobias Kulang says he wanted to make use of his trip to Fiji to see how the largest tourist provider in the region could attract so many visitors and also to ensure they gained as much knowledge and assistance from SPTO on how to market PNG as a tourism destination.
“PNG has not developed its marketing strategy as much as we would have wanted so this is a good time for us to come and see how Fiji, a giant in tourism in the region, has done their own and we will take this knowledge back and develop our own strategies,” he said.
“I mean when you look at the size of the two nations Fiji has developed its tourism well and is attracting a million visitors to its shores each year compared to PNG which attracts about 200,000 visitors annually.
He said with PNG hosting the APEC meeting with 20,000 delegates in 2018 they have huge challenges in terms of infrastructure and training their manpower.
He said as a member of the SPTO, PNG was looking to the organization for leadership and to lobby support for them as a tourism destination.
Mr Kulang said they hoped to attend events like the South Pacific Tourism Exchange between May 20-21 in Gold Coast Australia, to spread their tourism message further.
SPTO acting Chief Executive Officer Alisi Lutu said it was always a pleasure to host member nations but when a Minister came it was an honour of the highest order.
“To get such a distinguished member and a policy maker in our humble office is a rare event but it can only augur well for development for PNG as a tourist destination” she said.
“As a representative of 16 member nations including PNG we are here to market tourism and ensure visitors are well informed about our members.
“For this we applaud the Minister for visiting us and seeing how he can use our office and its wide expertise to the maximum benefit for tourism in PNG and we wish him well in his vision for tourism there.”