PNG Business News - December 21, 2021
ADB Report: Tourism Will Help The Pacific Region's Growth Rebound In 2022
According to the current issue of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Pacific Economic Monitor (PEM), the Pacific economies are expected to return in 2022. While the Pacific region's GDP prediction was cut to -0.6 per cent in 2021 in the ADB study, the subregion is expected to increase by 4.7 per cent in 2022 as widespread immunization against coronavirus illness (COVID-19) allows borders to gradually reopen. This is intended to improve trade and tourism in the Cook Islands, Fiji, and Vanuatu, among other places. A brighter prognosis for Papua New Guinea's extractives industry is also expected to contribute considerably to this recovery. “As the Pacific region gradually reopens borders, safeguarding the health, resuming safe travel, strengthening economic management, and promoting fiscal sustainability will be key to ensuring a resilient recovery from COVID-19,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific Leah Gutierrez. According to the PEM, reopening to travellers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 is critical for the tourism industry's future. The number of tourists to Pacific sites has remained limited, with the majority of visitors arriving via travel bubble agreements with bilateral partners. However, due to dangers associated with the global rise of COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant, these preparations had to be put on hold. For near-term tourism in the Pacific, a sustainable return to safe travel will be vital. This, in turn, will be determined by vaccine rollout success, which has been inconsistent, with near-universal coverage of eligible people in the Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, and Palau, contrasting with relatively modest adoption in Melanesian nations. Other country issues and policy themes critical to mitigating risks to the Pacific's recovery are explored in the PEM. It discusses public finance sustainability in the Cook Islands through fiscal consolidation and state-owned enterprise reforms in the Marshall Islands and Palau. Other articles focus on specific aspects of economic recovery, such as female labour participation in Fiji, labour mobility initiatives in Kiribati and Tuvalu, and reducing the burden of noncommunicable illness in Niue, Samoa, and Tonga. The PEM also looks at topics that are important across the subregion when it comes to the sustainable management of fisheries resources. The PEM's policy briefs look at significant problems that will have a big impact on the Pacific's overall economic recovery after the COVID-19 crisis. The Lowy Institute's contribution estimates the time it will take Pacific countries to vaccinate their people and cautions that an unequal vaccine rollout would have long-term consequences for the region's growth. Another contribution from the Private Sector Development Initiative looks at the possibilities for tourism following COVID-19 and how rephrasing tourism goals and targets while including sustainability indicators might help people better comprehend tourism as a growth strategy. The final policy brief examines the topic of domestic resource mobilization and its role in ensuring the Pacific's public finances are sustainable. The Asian Development Bank is dedicated to establishing a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while continuing to fight extreme poverty. It was founded in 1966 and is owned by 68 people, 49 of them are from the region. Reference: Asian Development Bank (14 December 2021). “Tourism to Help Pacific Growth Rebound in 2022, Says ADB Report the region”.
PNG Business News - November 18, 2021
Marape Assures Government Support for Tourism
Photo credit: PM James Marape News Page - PNG Tourism Promotion Authority CEO Eric Mossman Uvovo, Tourism Minister Hon. Isi Henry Leonard, TPA Chairman Hon. Kennedy Wenge and PM Marape with children representing the four regions of the country at launching of the PNG Tourism Sector Development Plan 2022-2026 in Port Moresby. Prime Minister James Marape has pledged his government's complete support for the tourist industry, including in the 2022 Budget. He offered this guarantee in Port Moresby recently at the introduction of the Tourist Promotion Authority's PNG tourism sector growth plan 2022-2026. Tourism Arts and Culture Minister Isi Henry Leonard, TPA chairman Kennedy Wenge, and TPA chief executive officer Eric Uvovo were also present alongside Marape. Tourism, agriculture, sustainable forestry, sustainable fisheries, and downstream processing would all be priorities for Marape's government, according to him. “The next 10 years will see huge activity in various interventions we will do for our country,” he said. “What we are projecting in the next 10 years is a K200 billion economy.” Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey will announce in the 2022 Budget that the PNG economy will surpass K100 billion next year, according to Marape. “We are working with the Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Bank in restructuring our economy, refocusing our economy, putting our economy in the right place,” he said. “We are doing things in tough times, and tough times allow us to look at our priorities and lesser priorities. I am here to tell you that tourism, just like agriculture, can be engaged in by every person in the villages.” Marape urged everyone in the country to embrace tourism as their own. “Our citizens can contribute in a big way to tourism,” he said. “Generally, in our country, you find very caring and friendly people. Tourists who come here go back with fond memories of our country.” He said that his administration was encouraging everyone in the country, particularly youngsters, to participate in economic pursuits such as tourism. “That is why we have made this deliberate intervention to put money in banks so that you can do a start-up somewhere,” he said. Reference: Post-Courier (15 November 2021). “Marape Assures Tourism Sector Of Govt Support”.
PNG Business News - September 24, 2021
Domestic Tourism Should Be Pushed Today, Says Leonard
Photo credit: Travel Triangle Domestic tourism should be pushed today, argued Tourist, Arts and Culture Minister Isi Henry Leonard, since the tourism industry is being impacted by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic. “The Covid-19 has awakened us to realise our full potential,” he said. “The answer is in culture and domestic tourism. We have to realign and re-strategise to get tourism up and going. “You don’t need to look outside for answers. “You need to look inside to address this global situation. “Culture is the product to boost the tourism industry that is largely affected by the pandemic. “Anywhere there is a cultural event, we support it. I promote the culture of this country.” Chief executive officer of the Tourism Promotion Authority, Eric Mossman Uvovo, said measures were in the works to promote domestic tourism. Locals and expats alike were interested in domestic airports and flights, he added. Packages with airlines have been promoted. Reference: The National (22 September 2021). ‘Encourage local tourism’
PNG Business News - September 24, 2021
Tourism Industry Losses at K500M
According to Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) chief executive officer Eric Mossman Uvovo, the tourism industry has lost roughly K500 million as a result of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). “PNG recorded an 82 per cent drop – 170,000 fewer arrivals compared to the 200,000 arrivals of international travellers in 2019,” Uvovo told a tourism convention yesterday at the University of PNG. The tourist industry, he said, has been hammered the hardest around the world, with Asia-Pacific being the hardest-hit region. “Global tourism suffered its worst year on record in 2020 with international arrivals dropping by 74 per cent (or one billion less in arrival according to the latest data from the World Tourism Organisation). The Asia and Pacific region suffered the most with an 84 per cent drop (or 300 million fewer international arrivals), followed by the Middle East and Africa. “International arrivals worldwide continue to remain weak in 2021 and it is expected to slowly improve in 2022 and fully recover by 2024.” The National Development Plan 2022-2026 is being used by the TPA to: Improve the number of visitors; Increase the number of domestic visitors; Increase the number of tourism operators and suppliers and strengthen product capacity; Enhance the quality of tourism-related goods and services; Strengthen the tourism industry and the regulatory framework; and Improve sector leadership, coordination, and synergy. The TPA intends to collaborate with the two local airlines to offer domestic travel discounts to outlying areas of the country. Reference: The National (22 September 2021). “Tourism industry lost K500mil due to Covid-19, Uvovo says”.
PNG Business News - August 09, 2021
Tourism Requires Funding
To increase tourism, the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority requires additional government funding. PNG TPA Chief Executive Officer Eric Uvovo stated the government's support for tourism in PNG is a drop in the ocean, and TPA wants the government to recognize that tourism is a very vital and major sector that requires its assistance, as well as greater investment. According to Uvovo, financing is a major problem for TPA in terms of marketing and product development, and TPA is hoping that the government recognizes this and increases its budget in 2021 and beyond. “The government needs to meaningfully invest into tourism where TPA can reach down to the district and provincial level to develop tourism more. COVID-19 has really affected the tourism industry where all industry members are bleeding to the core at this point in time,” Uvovo said. He stated that they have sought government assistance for their stimulus packages, which has yet to materialize, and that they are still waiting for the government to step in and help them. According to Uvovo, 2020 will be the most difficult year in the history of tourism due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global tourism, which has resulted in travel restrictions, low consumer confidence, and a global struggle to control the spread of COVID, all of which have impacted the industries. TPA is currently working with districts and provincial governments to boost domestic tourism, but financing remains a key issue, which he is urging the government to address now by investing or increasing the tourist budget to improve the business. Reference: Kamus, Maxine. Post-Courier (5 August 2021). “Tourism Promotion Authority Needs Govt Support”.
PNG Business News - June 01, 2021
Country Can Generate Millions For The Passage Of Ships
Photo Credit: Papua New Guinea Travel According to Gudmundur Fridrikkson, chief executive officer of Paga Hill Development Company, the country can generate US$250 million (K869.60 million) in 18 months if 80 of the 300 cruise ships that pass by are allowed to visit. Fridrikkson stated that the country needs the appropriate products and infrastructure, such as wharves. “PNG needs to diversify its economy and one of the low hanging fruits is tourism,” he said. “We have over 300 cruise ships that pass Papua New Guinea every year and obviously we have the Covid-19 now but we will get through that and this will recommence. “To attract some of these ships to Papua New Guinea, we need to have the right products and, by our calculations, getting 80 of the 300 ships in 18 months would bring more than US$250 million back into our economy and over 200,000 new tourists. “What they need is a good wharf to stop at. “We have been talking to Kumul about upgrading the wharf downtown and building a cultural park where all the provinces can showcase and sell artefacts and produce. “Also, upgrading the bunkers and maybe creating a peace museum more than a war museum celebrating our role in WWII. “There will be attractions where people can come off the boat, see the culture, eat the food, buy the products and then see the museum, then maybe go to Fisherman Island or a village. “One of the key components is a casino and duty-free.” Reference: Luma, Dale. The National (31 May 2021). “Cruise ships can bring in K860m”.
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PNG Business News - May 13, 2021
Tourism Industry Sees Dropping Turnout of Visitors
After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's tourism industry has been in a state of emergency, with the number of visitors dropping dramatically. In response to questions, Melanesian Tourism Services Limited reported that the global COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the tourism sector throughout Papua New Guinea. “The tourism sector in the country has gone to the dust; this is due to the PNG Government not taking tourism seriously, especially when they concentrate most of their efforts in the Mining, Gas and Petroleum sector,” said Anton Selve. “Tourism is a sustainable resource itself and until our government gets their act together, we won’t become like Fiji or any other ‘hot’ tourism destination in the world. “Our tourism sector for last year and this year do look uncertain. Despite the pandemic, Papua New Guineans have to realise that we all need to get vaccinated to get things going post-COVID-19,” Selve said. He said that if there are any ways of defence against the virus, the pandemic will gradually fade away from this world, and the country will be able to freely host tourism and domestic travel again, with no more lockdowns. Until that happens, there will be no estimation to the future. “We believe that in order to attract tourists to come into this country, we need to actively create facilities to make the world turn their attention to us for something better than crime and see the prospects in the county of million journeys,” Selve said. Tourism Minister Isi Leonard previously announced that the Ministry is focused on making tourism a people-oriented industry and working with the National Cultural Commission to encourage cultural events as a path forward. “We are now going rural and supporting cultural activities in the rural areas which are the way forward following the adverse impacts we have been experiencing in the tourism and hospitality industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
PNG Business News - April 19, 2021
International Visitors Decline in 2020
According to the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority, the number of foreign tourists to the country declined by about 82 per cent last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its negative effects on travel (TPA). In 2020, only 39,000 foreign tourists were counted, down 170,000 from the previous year and the lowest in the last 20 years. PNG's largest source country, according to the 2020 tourist arrivals survey, is Australia. In 2019, 103,440 Australians visited Papua New Guinea. By 2020, the figure had dropped by 86% to just 14,871. “Visitors from the Philippines were the second-largest international travellers to PNG in 2020, while visitors from China were third,” the authority stated “Visitors from the Philippines and China dropped by 71 per cent and 84 per cent respectively.” Visitors came to PNG for work, service, vacation, visiting friends and relatives, school, gatherings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, and sports, according to the study. In the year 2020, 54% of travellers will be looking for work. “Only 8 per cent came as tourists. The number of visitors who came for a vacation was 3,399, down 87.5 per cent from the previous year's total of 25,199. “All tourists arriving in PNG in 2020 were by air. “No cruise ship visitors were recorded due to the Government’s ban on cruise ships entering the nation’s seaports. “The international visitor exit survey conducted by the TPA revealed that tourists had spent an estimated K156 million in 2020 – K560 million a less than in 2019 which recorded K715 million in expenditure.”
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 15, 2021
Local Tourism Must Be Promoted
Promoting local tourism must be taken into account these days, even during the period of the pandemic. According to Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Isi Henry Leonard, citizens and the business community should take this time and opportunity to promote tourism in their districts and provinces. “We are all aware of the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and PNG is not immune, it has affected the industry, especially international tourism,” he said. “Our local tourists are also affected but not to an extreme extent, so I see that there is an opportunity. Given the challenge, we should now re-orient how we promote and do tourism in the country. We should focus in local tourism.”Leonard said that among the plan to put in place with regards to promoting tourism in the country is through road mapping - in which PNG should do tourism and rise up.
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 - December 03, 2020
Tourism Not Measured in Statistics
Unlike other economic sectors such as fisheries, agriculture, and mining, the tourism industry in Papua New Guinea has not been explicitly measured in the economic statistics for its contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP).Thus, said PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA) chief executive officer Eric Mossman Uvovo. He added that even if the tourism industry in the country is small, tourism would definitely play a huge role in the growth of the economy. “Therefore, the development of satellite accounts is vital for PNG, so that reliable data on the impact of tourism on the economy and employment can be measured effectively going forward,” he said.An approved way of measuring the direct contribution of tourism consumption to the economy, tourism satellite accounts is the standard United Nations. The TPA, a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, will lead the technical working group to implement this project next year. The satellite account will meet monthly to monitor and coordinate the progress and provide support while the NSO has the role of producing satellite accounts in the country.
PNG Business News - November 11, 2020
COVID Hurt Tourism in a Big Way
The pandemic has caused big losses, including the revenue loss of around K70 million due to the closure of international borders. According to the Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Walter Schnaubelt, the tourism industry has been affected in a huge way. He added that the government had been putting capital into small-and-medium enterprises (SME) to weather these losses. “About K69.91 million (was the loss recorded by) 43 of the 60 major tourism business operations in PNG,” he said. “Tourism is the fastest-growing sector in terms of generating revenue, providing employment.”The pandemic caused the cancellation of 90.7 per cent of tourist bookings and 1,000 people that lost jobs. “The international business arrivals in the first nine months of 2020 dropped by 71 per cent,” he said. “This is about 8,500 international arrivals to the country this year compared to over 120,000 we saw in the same period in 2019. Arrivals from our major source markets around the world have seen double-digit drops in the same period. We relied heavily on international visitor arrivals to bring in much-needed foreign currency to boost our economy.”To promote tourism in the country, Schnaubelt said that the focus would now be domestic first. “PNG TPA has increase promotion and awareness programme to educate Papuan New Guineans to appreciate the beauty and diversity of our country to promote local tourism,” he said.