Photo credit: Tourism Promotion Authority
Papua New Guinea officially opened its borders to international visitors on the 1st July 2022, and visitor arrivals from January to August 2022 show that the country has received 37,537 visitors – 2,182 of these visitors were here on holiday.
Obtaining a tourist visa remains a challenge for bona fide tourists as the 60-day tourist visa on arrival is no longer available. The PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA) will be working closely with the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority to reinstate the tourist visa-on-arrival facility to encourage international travellers to visit Papua New Guinea. Meanwhile, tour operators and agents must continue to comply with PNGICA requirements and apply online for their client’s tourist visas using the Immigration Authority’s website portal.
All COVID-19 travel restrictions have been lifted by the Government since 5th October 2022, the most recent being the vaccine test entry requirement for travelers, and the wearing of masks inside airports.
PNGTPA is aware that COVID-19 has become endemic – meaning the world is learning to live with the disease. Therefore, through the Safe Traveller PNG awareness program, the PNGTPA continues to advocate for the health and safety of the members of PNG’s tourism industry and visitors in the country. Industry members volunteer to participate in the program by undergoing training, and are then certified and promoted through the PNGTPA website as a Safe Traveller PNG business that is equipped to provide a safe and healthy environment for their guests and clients.
Since the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions across the country, tourism in the country is slowly being revitalized, especially with the return of iconic national events like the Hagen Show, Frangipani Festival, Goroka Show and the recent Morobe Show in Lae. These events have not only brought back international travellers to the country, but refocused a great deal of marketing and promotions towards PNG’s domestic market.
For Morobe Tourism in particular, especially the recent 59th Morobe Show, hundreds and thousands of people attended the two-day event hosted at the Lae Showgrounds. Papua New Guinean show-goers came from the Highlands region, as well as from the Madang and Northern Provinces to attend, what is now becoming the nation’s biggest show with a strong focus on agritourism. Morobe Show is one of the most well-run, self-sustaining events in Papua New Guinea, hosted by the Morobe Agricultural Society – a successful case study for all events and festivals in Papua New Guinea.
Despite the Morobe Show’s success, there are many challenges ahead for tourism in the Morobe Province. Developments of attractions and products in Lae and the wider and remote Morobe Province are key areas the PNGTPA wish to assist the province with. However, the issue of a functioning provincial tourism office is vital in the bridging this assistance at a national level for tourism development in Morobe. The PNGTPA will be revisiting an MOU signed in 2018 by the Morobe Provincial Government and the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture.
In March this year, PNGTPA visited the districts of Nawae and Finschaffen to meet tourism product owners and service providers. The team also carried out marketing awareness and delivered guest lectures to the students of the Poly Technical College in Lae.
PNGTPA continues to market and promote Morobe as a travel destination in Papua New Guinea through its website: www.papuanewguinea.travel, particularly events like the Morobe Show, accommodation providers in Lae, as well as local tour operators like LaeAbout Tours and Fuzzy Wuzzy Expeditions.
Morobe Attractions will be a significant part of PNGTPA’s online marketing and promotions next year, working with the Morobe Provincial Government will be a vital and necessary step in showcasing the best of one of PNG’s most vibrant industrial hubs.
Article courtesy of Tourism Promotion Authority