Lae Tourism and Hospitality Trying to Recover
Like many industries around the world, the tourism and hospitality sector in PNG are struggling to survive and recover, Lae Chamber of Commerce president John Byrne said, who hails from Lae.
According to Mr Byne, businesses in the Lae area have developed procedures to keep themselves afloat - with at the most 40 to 60 per cent capacity. While some have reduced their staff, others have chosen to do rotational shifts to give everyone a chance to continue working.
In a statement, he said, “Hospitality in Lae serves both international and domestic with local customers and a lessening of movement of people, less disposable income means less hospitality and job losses. Many businesses are choosing to split-shift or rotate staff rather than create job losses and that is commendable.”
Mr Byrne added that prior to COVID-19, businesses in the Lae area have not been quite successful, and they are doing measures to revive the industry. One such process is for several tourism operators to work closely with domestic and local clients, and look for more ways to grow and adapt.
“On a larger scale there are some exciting projects coming up for tourism which will cement Lae and Morobe as a place to visit,” Mr Byrne said in a statement. “Disappointingly but not unexpectedly the world-class Morobe Show which attracts more international visitors annually had to be cancelled including many of our provincial cultural shows and this also has an impact on tourism and local revenue.”
Mr Byrne also added that small cafes in the area are leading the way towards safety measures: handwashing, wearing of face masks and disinfecting.
Meanwhile aside from the hotel and tourism industry, bars, clubs, and gambling houses have also been damaged by COVID-19 and some organizations such as the LCCI through the Morobe Provincial Emergency Operations Committee are finding ways to help them.