By Meriba Tulo – EMTV News, Alotau
With its pristine waters, untouched flora and fauna and rich culture Milne Bay province has for many years been at the forefront of attracting tourists, both locally and abroad.
In recent years its provincial capital, Alotau, has seen a gradual increase in visitor numbers, allowing for many new businesses to venture into the hospitality sector.
Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Tobias Kulang, was in the province over the weekend to experience first-hand the services provided.
Whilst in the province, Minister Kulang had the opportunity to meet with members of the business community, as well as the Provincial Tourism Bureau – his main purpose, explaining the decision to select Alotau as a Tourism Hub, as well as the financial benefits Alotau may receive through support of this initiative – funding from the World Bank to the tune of K60 million.
The support from World Bank comes at a time when cash-flow within tourism is at lower levels than previous years – however, according to World Bank Development Specialist, Hannah Merselli, the opportunities available to Alotau as a pilot destination in the Tourism Hub Initiative, can only be realised if stringent conditions are met – among them, the development of a Provincial Tourism Master Plan.
From initial interactions with Milne Bay tourism and hospitality providers, Kulang is confident that the province can successfully meet the conditions set by the World Bank to draw down funding to support this initiative.