PTO Partners with PNG Tourism to Drive Data Excellence in Tourism

By: Roselyn Erehe May 27, 2024

Caption: Standing from left to right: PTO’s Research & Statistics Manager, Prashil Parkas, TPA’s Research Officer for Domestic, Abigail Pangwinyen, PNG Air’s Marketing and Media Coordinator, Dalai Thomas, TPA’s Senior Partnerships & Industry Liaison Officer, Clare Atava, TPA’s Planning and Project Officer, Murray Variambu, Leo Ameua from the Central Provincial Office, TPA’s Data Analyst, Jephet Keako, PTO’s Senior Research Officer, Rovarovaivalu Vesikula, TPA’s Policy Analyst, Faith Kaupa and Air Niugini’s Executive Manager for Sales and Distribution, Floyd Smith. Seated from left to right: Executive manager for PNGTIA, Joybertina Piasinu, Lucy Miro from Kokoda Track Authority, Lavinia Fine Naivalurua from SPTO, Henna Esela from POM Business College, Imelda Atu from UPNG and Monalisa Kamuri from POM Business College during the conclusion of the workshop in Port Moresby. - Image provided by TPA PR.

To strengthen sustainable tourism development across the Pacific region, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) joined with the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA) for a pivotal collaboration.

The highlight of this partnership was a weeklong in-country workshop held May 13 to 17, focusing on data initiatives and the Digital Measurement and Benchmarking Dashboard under the Pacific Digital Transformation Project (PDTP).

The project focuses on collecting and analyzing tourism data to make informed decisions for sustainable tourism development.

The New Zealand Government-funded Pacific Tourism Data Initiative (PTDI) project supported this partnership.

The PTDI project supports evidence-based planning and decision-making. Its components include the creation of a bi-annual International Visitor Survey (IVS), an annual Business Confidence Index (BCI), and an annual Community Attitude Survey (CAS) report. These reports offer crucial insights into community awareness and attitudes toward tourism.

The workshop, held at the Citi Boutique Hotel in Port Moresby, drew the participation of 15 individuals equipped with the tools necessary to drive insightful research outcomes within PNG's tourism sector.

At the workshop, PNGTPA's Executive Manager for the Corporate Affairs Division, Claire Kupo, underscored the pivotal role of data and research in shaping informed decisions and public policies conducive to sustainable tourism development in the region.

PNGTPA’s CEO, Eric Mossman Uvovo, reiterated the significance of the collaboration with SPTO on initiatives like the Pacific Tourism Data Initiative (PTDI) project.

Mossman Uvovo said: "The recent week-long in-country workshop focused on data initiatives and the Digital Measurement and Benchmarking Dashboard shows the importance of collecting and analyzing tourism data for informed decision-making.”

“By working together with SPTO and other stakeholders, we are committed to using data-driven insights to drive sustainable tourism development in Papua New Guinea and across the Pacific region. Through initiatives like the PTDI project, we aim to enhance our understanding of visitor behavior, preferences, and trends, ultimately shaping a vibrant future for tourism in our country and the region," he added.

SPTO Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Cocker, also stressed the importance of weaving together the power of data to contribute to informed decision-making and shape a sustainable and vibrant future for tourism in the Pacific.

“SPTO has been very fortunate to conduct an in-country visit to PNG to enhance the proficiency of research officers in utilising statistical analysis software (Survey Monkey, SPSS & NVIVO) through funding from the New Zealand government,” Mr. Cocker said.

“The workshop is pivotal for driving insightful research outcomes within the PNG tourism sector and data collaboration is key within the Tourism Industry Stakeholders in the implementation of the Digital Measurement and Benchmarking Dashboard.”

A participant, PNGTPA Research and Statistics Officer Abigail Pangwinyen, lauded the four-day workshop for enhancing her skills in data analysis within the travel and tourism industry.

Through conducting workshops and fostering collaborations with local partners, SPTO reaffirms its dedication to advancing sustainable tourism development in both PNG and the broader Pacific region.

The PTDI project, funded by the New Zealand Government, encompasses ten countries -- PNG including Niue, Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Kiribati, Timor Leste, and FSM-Yap.

It aims to collect and analyze tourism data crucial for evidence-based planning and decision-making, thus shaping a vibrant future for tourism in the Pacific.

The SPTO is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region, established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific.  

It has 21 Government members -- American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Rapa Nui, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, and the People’s Republic of China.

In addition to government members, the SPTO has a broad private-sector membership base.

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