Reforms Needed in the Tourism Industry: Minister
by PNG Business News - March 01, 2021
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 - 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 - 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 - January 09, 2021
Official: High Costs of Airfares are a Challenge to Tourism
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 - November 28, 2022
Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry holds 67th Annual General Meeting
The Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (POM CCI) held its 67th Annual General Meeting at the Lamana Hotel on the 24th of November 2022 , present to witness the occasion were its members, executives and various stakeholders. The meeting was officially opened by the President and Master of Ceremony Mr. Rio Fiocco who gave his opening remarks and report. He thanked all the POM CCI staff for their hard work this year despite the challenges faced by covid and other changes in the administration. Some of their achievements highlighted included the recruitment of two graduate accountants from the IBS University and the employment of its new membership officer. Mr. Rio Fiocco stated that by 2023 the chamber will be working with Total PNG to pre-qualify its members to be contracted to early works stage of the Papua LNG project . "All members who have issues affecting their business can feel free to come and see us so we can lobby for you through NCD or if it government related we will also lobby for you through the PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry", said Mr. Rio Fiocco. The treasurer of POM CCI Ms. Akae Beach presented the chambers Financial Report stating that it had made a net surplus of k114,020 which is a 12% net profit margin despite not recouping most of its membership fees. "The Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc is in good financial position and our net asset stand at K1.49m compared with K1.38m last year , a healthy increase of 8 %. Whilst conditions remain challenging , I am confident that the chamber will continue to be in overall surplus in 2022 as we continue maintaining our current strategy ( with an increase focus on both the Corporate and SME sectors) whilst continuous improvement in our financial systems, increase online and physical marketing efforts and increase member initiatives" stated Ms. Akea Beach. Ms. Akae Beach concluded that she will be leaving the chamber by the end of the year but will still support the chamber within her own capacity.
PNG Business News - November 27, 2022
PM Marape, Ministers and star international business speakers headline PNG Mining & Petroleum Conference in Sydney
Prime Minister Marape headlines a star line-up of speakers at the 16th PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference, in Sydney in December, to promote international investment in PNG. Already over 1000 attendees are registered to attend, as the Conference features a dynamic and engaging program centered around Prime Minister Marape’s announcement of 4 new mega projects and the expected re-opening of Porgera gold mine. Prime Minister Marape will be providing the keynote opening address on Day 1. He will be joined by Australian International Development Minister Pat Conroy. Senior executives of the major international investors in PNG, including Newcrest CEO Sandeep Biswas, Harmony Gold CFO Ms Boipelo Lekubo, TotalEnergies Senior Vice President Mr Julien Pouget, Santos President Upstream Mr Brett Darlie and ExxonMobil PNG Managing Director Mr Peter Larden will be providing a global outlook for their companies’ operations around the world, how they have adapted to emerging trends and how their PNG investments fit into their global portfolios. A highlight will be CEO of Fortescue Future Industries Dr Mark Hutchinson’s presentation of Fortescue’s vision for how green hydrogen can be a gamechanger for the world and PNG’s envisaged role supplying hydrogen to the world. Day 1 concludes with a session featuring former Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, the respected Julie Bishop, presenting her view as to why Australia needs to invest more in PNG, and PNG’s Trade and International Investment Minister Richard Maru outlining the PNG government’s vision for investment and development in non-mining sectors. Each session on Day 1 will feature panels moderated by well-known Australian media personality Ms Ticky Fullerton. Day 2 of the Conference features policy statements by Mining Minister Ano Pala and Petroleum and Energy Minister Kerenga Kua, presentations by Kumul Petroleum and MRDC, project updates on all of PNG’s existing mining and energy projects, and the presentations of the next wave of resource and energy projects – Papua LNG Project, Pnyang LNG Project, Pasca Gas Project and Wafi Gold-Copper Project. Day 3 of the Conference features a unique 3 stream format focused on varied themes including Exploration growth, Climate Change & Energy, Improving Ease of Business, Infrastructure, and Business Success stories. Day 3’s program features a significant list of speakers including heads of government regulatory agencies, CEOs of various PNG and international businesses, and includes international institutions such as the IFC. The Conference concludes with a session that focuses on PNG success stories where resource revenues have been invested for future benefit, and a presentation on the importance of the PNG Sovereign Wealth Fund. “It’s an engaging and dynamic Conference program with a high-profile cast of speakers. I am very grateful for the support that the Prime Minister has provided to the Conference, and the unprecedented participation of Government Ministers and heads of departments and agencies as speakers. Industry and the PNG Government are presenting a united front in promoting PNG as an international investment destination at the Conference. We are pleased that we can work with the Government in this regard. The Prime Minister will be in a unique position in our history by speaking about the advancement of 4 major projects, and the potential doubling of PNG’s GDP in the near future, which can usher in significant economic benefits for our people.” Said Mr Anthony Smaré, President of the Chamber of Mines & Petroleum. “We are also very fortunate that so many high-profile leaders from some of the world’s largest companies have taken time out to come and speak at the Conference to outline why they believe PNG is an important place to invest in. Australian Minister Pat Conroy’s speech will give us an indication of Australia’s view of PNG’s importance. I am personally looking forward to the afternoon session on Day 1 when Julie Bishop will present her view as to why Australia needs to invest more in PNG, and Minister Richard Maru will challenge international companies and countries to invest more into the PNG Government’s investment priority areas such as infrastructure and agriculture.” “Over 1000 people are now registered to attend the Conference, but there is still some seats left, so I encourage business people not already registered, to quickly secure their seats at www.pngconference.com over the next few days. The Conference is unique because you can meet everyone who has a role in PNG’s resources and energy sector - Government policy makers and regulators, the business movers and shakers, landowners, financiers, investors, suppliers and contractors from all over the world – all in one place over three days from 5 to 7 December 2022 at the Sydney Hilton Hotel.”
PNG Business News - November 27, 2022
PM Marape supports development of oil palm industry on a massive scale in PNG
Photo: PM Marape and Governor Bird in discussions with representatives of Pacific Elite Palm Oil Group in Singapore on Monday (November 21, 2022). Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has given his support to development of the oil palm industry in Papua New Guinea on a massive scale. PM Marape gave his support after he and East Sepik Governor, Hon. Allan Bird, met with representatives of Pacific Elite Palm Oil Group in Singapore on Monday (November 21, 2022). The company currently runs an oil palm project in East Sepik, which it wants to emulate in all provinces, saying that it will be an economic gamechanger for the whole country. The company aims to create the largest agriculture-based wealth in the South Pacific, as well as generate electricity for PNG, using oil palm. Governor Bird told PM Marape that if a long-term oil palm development plan was drawn up, with the aim of economic independence for PNG, one million hectares of oil palm grown all over PNG would bring in an extra K100 billion for the country. “We can double our GDP just from palm oil,” he said. “If we go into downstream processing, this K100 billion could double, so that we could be earning K200 billion on top of our current GDP. “The other flow-on to the economy is power production that fits into the grid, carbon credits, increased cattle production, as well as jobs. “Palm oil is amazing because you can do so much with it, including green energy, which can be generated from the waste of palm oil. “If we have 33 operations throughout PNG, similar to what we are doing in East Sepik, 100,000 jobs would be created “This is brilliant.” Governor Bird told PM Marape that oil palm, when made into biofuel, would save the country millions of kina. “If we produce enough palm oil, we don’t need to go out and buy fuel, as we can produce our own,” he said. “It can also bring inflation down as we are no longer importing inflation. “I’m excited because it provides us an escape plan from all these things that are affecting us.” PM Marape welcomed the proposal by Pacific Elite Palm Oil Group and the ideas of Governor Bird, who has helped to grown the vanilla and cocoa industries in East Sepik, and PNG. “As regards expanding nationwide, I invite you to come to Port Moresby, and I will run the investment figures past the super funds and Kumul Consolidated Holdings,” he told the company’s spokesperson Alexander Tho. “A family of investors can easily mobilise the money required for the project. “I also want you to have a stake in the business, and run it, as we cannot do it on our own, in like what Barrick is doing at Porgera Mine.”