by Quinton Alomp – EM TV, Port Moresby
Calls have been made for Autonomous Bougainville Government to focus more on tourism, instead of redeveloping the controversial Panguna mine.
This call was made by Rotokas Ecotourism Founder, Junias Repiriri.
Mr Repiriri says Bougainville has a huge potential for tourism and urge the new provincial government, after the election, to consider this.
While talks about redeveloping the controversial Panguna mine has been under close scrutiny from both local and international NGOs and the media, a local business man says the election’s outcome is critical to Bougainville’s Peace agreement, and its development priorities.
One of these priorities is tourism and Repiriri says, the ABG must consider developing the tourism industry rather than giving prominence to mining.
He says mining has been the cause of problems on Bougainville and ABG must not push forward to open the mine at this stage.
Almost twenty years after the civil war and the Panguna Mine reopening has been the much talked about issue by the ABG and the national government.
However, the move has been seen by Junias Repiriri, the man behind development of the Rotokas Ecotourism, as unhealthy for Bougainville.
Junias is among 42 shortlisted entrepreneurs who underwent an intensive boot camp training run by the Kumul Game Changers initiative at the Institute of Banking and Business Management.
They graduated last Friday.
Junias says they have plans to make Rotokas ecotourism a potential attraction for tourists with activities ranging from bird watching, tracking and visits to dormant volcanoes on the island.