Official: High Costs of Airfares are a Challenge to Tourism
by PNG Business News - January 09, 2021
The high costs of airfares have been a challenge to domestic travel and tourism. According to the Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) Chief executive officer Eric Mossman, that in spite of the ill effects that the pandemic has brought to the country, this has allowed them to reassess and see where the industry was and how to maximise that potential in the country.
“One of the most important things that we have realised is that the cost of travel is one of the biggest impediments to growing tourism generally,” he said. “So we will be writing to donor agencies to support us to conduct a study into the composition and structure of the airfares and look at ways that we can improve. Perhaps opening up the airspace, signing up agreements, bringing in competitors into the market, especially in the domestic sector, so that when we have competitive airlines competing within the domestic sector so the prices of (aeroplane) tickets can decrease. But these are some of the bigger challenges that we faced. All in all, we are positioning ourselves to move forward having learnt from the impact of the Covid-19.”
In addition, former tourism, arts and culture minister Walter Schnaubelt challenged the new Minister Isi Henry Leonard to see how the costs of airfare can be reduced. This may also involve dialogue with the National Airports Corporation and Air Niugini.
Meanwhile, given the high rates of airlines, Leonard encouraged the public to also try using the maritime mode of transport. “We should look within and promote local tourism,” he said.
He further noted that programmes or cultural festivals needed to be spread out for government funding.
“Spread out the programmes whether it be sporting or cultural activities, snorkelling, diving or sight-seeing – have them programmed in the annual calendar and have the Government to fund those,” he said. “Promote those areas that have the potential in tourism and use provisions within the laws and promote tourism hubs within those areas. One of the laws we recently passed is the Special Economic Zone Act 2019 where we can explore to create hubs and invite the industry players to come to invest in them.”
PNG Business News - March 01, 2021
Tourism and Tourism-Related Businesses One of the Hardest Hit by COVID
With international borders shut down to contain the virus, PNG experienced a downfall in international travellers from January to June last year - 32,805 as compared with 75,556 of the same period n 2019, a drop of 57 per cent. In addition, tourism-related businesses and enterprises suffered major losses, and there is a dearth of tourists visiting shopping malls and recreational parks In an assessment survey conducted last September and October, tourism stakeholders and tourism product owners revealed interesting responses.According to the chief executive officer of the Port Moresby Nature Park, park visits fell from 70,346 visitors between March and August 2019 to 42,435 over the same period in 2020, a drop of 40 per cent. There were also a lot of cancellations of programs and projects for the parks. Also suffered was the souvenir shop of the park as there were no tourists anymore. However, some good samaritans also helped the park such as the Sir Brian Bell Foundation and the British High Commission paying entrance fees for their students and teachers. In addition, the earnings of local artisans were disrupted too.The hotel industry was another one of those hardest hit. Facing closure were the Ela Beach Hotel and the Holiday Inn Express because there were no tourists or visitors. Rates for room occupancy also dropped. But operations started picking up last quarter of 2020, especially with the food and beverages at the hotel. Lodges also faced some massive challenges. Aside from the airlines, travel agents such as PNG Explorers International, Mix Travel Limited also faced some losses and huge cancellations. Others such as dry cleaning, rental cars, barbershops, and florists all lacked customers.Local arts and crafts vendors also struggled.While it is believed that international travels boost the economy, domestic tourism can also contribute a lot. It is, therefore, everyone’s business to keep tourism alive in PNG.
PNG Business News - March 01, 2021
Reforms Needed in the Tourism Industry: Minister
Crucial reforms have to be made so that the tourism industry can move forward.According to Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Isi Leonard, they need to ensure that the environment for the tourism industry is significant to these changing times. He added that the enforcement of standards will add value to competitive advantage as a destination to ensure that the process of tourism goes smoothly. “Papua New Guinea’s tourism industry is a sleeping giant and has a huge potential to generate considerable wealth for our country,” he said. “The tourism industry will play a vital role in growing Papua New Guinea’s economy by harnessing the huge untapped tourism potential and open doors to the outside world into our shores to a million different journeys."He is confident that the national tourism plan will give the guidelines and frameworks for the tourism industry to get back on track. “We have to take back our tourism industry at the local level to the national level,” he said. “Every citizen in the Informal Sector, MMSEs, SMEs and big corporate organizations in all sectors of the economy can effectively participate and contribute to the overall growth and productivity of the Tourism Industry in Papua New Guinea.”
PNG Business News - February 17, 2021
COVID Has Affected the Tourism Industry
The pandemic has indeed affected the tourism industry in the country.This was according to Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Isi Henry Leonard who said that the travel restrictions has brought less international tourists to enter the country and has caused fewer tourism activities. However, he said that it is important to promote local tourism and activities in the country. “Our local tourism sector is also affected but not to that extent,” he said. “So we should now put more emphasis on local tourism by ensuring support in terms of travel and mobility within the country.”He added that a national plan was already in the works to align tourism in the country after the ill effects of the pandemic. “I think the plan should provide the way forward for tourism to rise above the Covid-19 challenges in the tourism sector,” he said. “We need to protect the tourism sector by devising possible solutions and strategies to ensure the sector continues to be promoted and maintained. So for me, I think we should emphasis more on local tourism by bringing programs and activities back to where the people are.” Once the plan is finalised, he said that they will seek the support of the National Executive Council.
PNG Business News - February 05, 2023
PNG Tourism Promotions Authority (TPA) and Bougainville TPA signs MOU
The Department of Commerce, Trade and Industry reached another milestone recently when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Tourism and Promotions Authority (TPA). The MOU paves the way forward for both parties to continue bilateral partnership based on the understanding of tourism and promotions in Bougainville. The MOU was signed by the PNG TPA and the ABG Department of Commerce, Trade and Industry on the understanding relating to a joint partnership for the protection and preservation of tangible and intangible culture, development and promotion of tourism, contemporary culture and the arts and sustainable tourism in the autonomous region of Bougainville. ABG Vice President and Minister for Commerce Trade and Industry, Hon. Patrick Nisira (MHR) acknowledged the PNGTPA for its tremendous support so far since the first MoU was signed in 2016. The support has cemented many agreements already signed and has proven that Bougainville is truly a tourism destination that is worth investing time and money on. Mr. Nisira acknowledged the PNG TPA officers for their continuous negotiation with the Bougainville partners in pushing for significant income generating programmes to proceed in the region. “Standing here today it gives me great pleasure to witness and participate in this significant event that will go down in history books of this nation to be. We are here today to mark this important event on the signing of the MOU between my ministry and the department of national government and PNG Tourism Promotions Authority (PNG TPA).” This agreement adds value to our collective vision, ideas and consultations that the local tourism and cultural practitioners in both government and private sectors, he said. “As a way forward the agreement presents a realistic and workable approach to tourism development and its sustainability in the region.” “The MOU also sets out a framework for future development for tourism emphasizing on effective and determined and holistic approaches.” He said that the agreement generally outlines the pros and cons of tourism development in Bougainville and the framework and strategy of reaching the targeted goals and vision earmarked to reaching the overarching goals of economic building and development. Deputy Chief Secretary for Operations Anthony Koiri approved and signed the MOU on behalf of the Bougainville Public Service Chief Secretary who is on sick leave at the moment. The signing was witnessed by the staff of the PNG Tourism Promotions Authority (PNGTPA), Department of Commerce, Trade and Industry, senior officers and a small crowd at the Bel Isi park.
PNG Business News - February 05, 2023
PNGEITI POSITION ON PORGERA MINE LEGACY TAX ISSUES
The PNGEITI Head of Secretariat Mr. Lucas Alkan says all parties to the Pogera Mine must adhere to rules governing the extractive industry, particularly when dealing with fiscal matters that must be administered and observed according to law. His comments follow a news article on The National citing the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) that unmet tax obligations of the Pogera mine stood in the way to expedite the mine re-opening process. Mr. Alkan says a workable and timely strategy that does not impinge on basic laws is a way forward. Below is the full comment on this issue. “The Papua New Guinea Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) commends The National newspaper for attempting to bring to light what appears to be the final outstanding issue (among others) in the Porgera Mine recommencement negotiations (more on this in footnote). We’ve noted from the reporting that taxation matters are legacy issues that appear to be standing in the way for the multi-million-kina Porgera Gold Mine to re-open. We have observed that the Government was on track to conclude negotiations and re-open the Mine by June last year, however this did not eventuate as anticipated. Attempts to reopening the Mine in the second half of last year was not feasible due to the national general elections and the formation of government. It appeared that all negotiations were concluded and a new Porgera Mining Agreement Framework was in place for the Mine to be re-opened in the first quarter of this year. Surprisingly, we learn that an old Porgera Tax liability dispute is standing in the way for the Mine to be re-opened. The early recommencement of the Mine, preferably within the first quarter of this year is critical for the country as the lead time required for mobilizing resources and the significant start-up capital needed to get the mine back into its full operating capacity would be a significant challenge. On this, we are aware there are also discussions going on with the developer and the government as to who is going to meet the startup cost but we understand Barrick Niugini Limited might meet the full cost of starting up the Mine and government would refund later but unsure as to whether this understanding has been reached or not yet. With regards to the current standoff, the EITI based on its global best practice principles is of the view that the existing law governing taxation matters must dictate or take precedence over any political intervention. We do not know the specifics of the on-going tax matter but understand that it is related to a tax dispute concerning the ‘old Porgera Mine’. If it is a significant amount of tax owed by Barrick to the Government based IRC’s audit in 2013 then it is a legal tax obligation that Barrick and its joint venture partners need to settle as required by law. We fail to understand as to why the old Porgera tax obligation/liability clause was inserted into the new Porgera Mining Framework Agreement making it a condition to resolve this legacy tax issue before reopening the Mine. If whatever was reported and commented by PM Marape recently is true then Barrick Niugini Limited and the State need to speed up the negotiation process and resolve this dispute immediately. Both parties should exercise good faith – Barrick Niugini Limited should not pull strings on this old Porgera tax liability matter and delay the re-opening of the Mine. It is understood the State (IRC) may not easily forego if there is a substantial amount of tax liability to be paid by the operator. Whatever the parties decide to do, they should resolve the tax liability issue through the due process of law but allow the Mine to re-open immediately under the New Porgera Framework Agreement. Political intervention is not recommended to resolve this dispute as this can undermine investor confidence, set bad precedence for the Government and create an uneven playing field for project developers. Barrack Niugini Limited should not put undue pressure on the State to resolve this matter politically in order to re-open the mine as it is not a best business practice. All stakeholders and the citizens have the right to know the specific issues or the nature of this tax liability issue between Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL) and the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) as the continued delay in re-opening the Mine continues to have negative consequences on the economy. The prolonged delay has not only resulted in significant revenue loss to the Government (including the provincial and local level governments in the impacted resource area) but also loss of employment, business opportunities and spin-off benefits to the landowners and the wider communities. The shutting down of the Mine 3 years ago has had significant negative consequences on the economy including the current foreign exchange shortage that has constrained business operations in the other sectors of the economy. Porgera Mine had been a good source of foreign exchange inflows and its continued shutdown will definitely not going to contribute to the 4% economic growth (that was largely to be driven by the extractive sector) projected for by the World Bank for last year and the real GDP growth of 4% projected for this year in the 2023 National Budget. PNGEITI commends the transparent negotiation process to date that took substantial amount of time and effort to ensure the interests of all parties were reflected in those agreements. We encourage all parties to continue to respect and observe the laws of the land in this dispute resolution process to address the tax liability issue. We believe that a win-win situation for both parties (Government and Barrick) is to re-open the mine first and work together to resolve the outstanding tax liability dispute later going forward.
PNG Business News - February 02, 2023
Weir Minerals releases the 6th edition of the Warman® Slurry Pumping Handbook, the definitive resource for slurry pumps
Photo: The Warman Slurry Pumping Handbook is the definitive guide for most slurry pumping applications. Weir Minerals, manufacturer of the industry-leading Warman® slurry pump, has released the latest edition of their coveted Warman® Slurry Pumping Handbook. The 6th edition, compiled by the most trusted name in slurry pumps, features detailed engineering data required for most slurry pumping applications. Drawing on decades of Weir Minerals’ inhouse expertise in innovative engineering and slurry pumping technology, the new handbook has updated reference material based on new learnings, improved understanding and technological developments within the mining industry. With customers always in mind, the handbook aims to empower engineers to achieve optimal performance from their Warman® slurry pumps. An increased global focus on the environment, energy consumption and water conservation will influence slurry pump design and considerations – making this latest handbook an essential tool for all current and future pump engineers. “Pumping slurry has many challenges and I’m excited to publish our latest handbook, packed with fundamental theory, application advice, standard practices and latest Warman learnings from the field; all aimed to help our customers, present and future, deliver with excellence.” Marcus Lane, Director, Slurry Pumping Technology Group Weir Minerals are continually striving to shape the next generation of smart, efficient and sustainable solutions with cutting-edge science and innovation. The comprehensive handbook includes over 140 pages of detailed information, including performance charts, impeller design, part configuration, assembly and slurry considerations – fully supported by accurate technical renders and specifications. “The high quality of the reference material in this essential resource reflects the leading status of the Warman slurry pumps. As the industry leader, we have a responsibility to develop our future engineers; we will make the latest version of the Warman Slurry Pumping Handbook available not only to our customers, but also to the leading schools worldwide, so they can learn from the best in the industry.” John McNulty, Vice President Global Engineering & Technology. As part of Weir Minerals’ commitment to investing in STEM education and developing the next generation of engineers, copies of this essential resource will be gifted to the leading mining and engineering educational facilities around the world, including the winner of the 2022 Warman Design & Build competition, Deakin University in Australia.