By: PNG Business News April 01, 2024

Cruise tourist with cultural performers in Alotau, Milne Bay Province

The Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA), through the International Visitor Survey (PNG IVS 2023) has reported a total of USD 120 million (PGK 400 million) generated by visitors travelling into Papua New Guinea last year.

TPA’s 2023 Visitor Arrival Report and PNG International Visitor Survey Report revealed a notable surge in tourism, a 116 percent increase from the previous year (77,291) with an influx of more than 140,000 visitors travelling into the country via sea and air.

Among the key highlights of the reports is a breakdown of visitor purposes which includes, employment-related visits (34 percent), followed by business trips at 20 percent. Cruise ship visitors contributed to 22 percent of the country’s visitors while Holidaymakers accounted for 11 percent. Tourists visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and events such as Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) collectively made-up 7 percent of arrivals.

The surge in arrivals is particularly evident in air and sea transportation. Air arrivals grew from 5,675 visitors to 16,113, marking a substantial increase. Likewise, cruise visitors surged, rising from 2,600 in 2022 to an impressive 31,321 in 2023, demonstrating an increase of 184 percent.

Despite this encouraging growth, PNG’s tourism recovery rate remains a topic of consideration. While the 2023 figures reflected a promising growth, the rate of recovery stands at 61 percent lower than pre-pandemic levels in 2019. This rate also slightly lags behind the average recovery rate of 64 percent observed across the Asia Pacific region.

PNG TPA’s Chief Executive Officer, Eric Mossman Uvovo described the country’s tourism as an evolving industry.

“As we review the outcomes of the 2023 Visitor Arrival Report and PNG International Visitor Survey Report, it is evident that PNG’s tourism landscape is evolving, with notable shifts in visitor demographics and market trends. A particular significance is the increasing prominence of the

“Chinese market, which has emerged as the second-largest source of holiday visitors to our country.

“This development shows the diversification of PNG’s tourism market and highlights our country’s potential with tourists. The growing interest from Chinese travelers signifies PNG’s growing appeal and the effectiveness of our promotional efforts in key global markets,” said Uvovo.

Uvovo also said that the 2023 reports showed emerging trends and reaffirmed the resilience and potential of PNG’s tourism sector, despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic.

“Moving forward, the Tourism Promotion Authority remains committed to driving sustained recovery and enhancing strategic market positioning. Through initiatives and collaborations, we aim to promote PNG’s natural beauty and cultural richness to further strengthen our status as a premier tourist destination in the Asia Pacific region.

“I am confident that PNG’s tourism sector will continue to thrive, offering memorable experiences to visitors while contributing significantly to our nation’s economic growth and development,” said Uvovo.  

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