Head of Tourism and Hospitality Department of Divine Word University, Ms Theresia Kau spent a day with the Jiwaka graduates and students on Saturday, November 9 at Kingku Hitech Training Institute advocating the importance of Tourism in developing Jiwaka province.
Ms Kau presented her invaluable findings through research she conducted in selected parts of Jiwaka province as part of her Master’s thesis on Tourism Management studies (MMS) at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.
Whilst highlighting the importance of the role of tourism in community development in Jiwaka province, Kau passionately spoke of the young people’s potentials and the opportunities available for their community to participate in and to promote development through tourism.
“The style of houses, culture, the mountain ranges, rivers, the flowers, the gardens there and the land; its all about tourism,” Kau said. Kau also told the graduates and students to see tourism as a catalyst for development.
Kau highlighted that the new province of Jiwaka could greatly benefit from tourism if the National Tourism Policy is implemented at the Provincial level. According to her findings, the bottom-up approach is necessary for developing tourism in the province because top-down approach of the current tourism policy is not effective.
“Community tourism development is the only way for tourism development in Jiwaka because of customary land ownership; a bottom-up approach will deliver more benefits to the community than the current top down approach,” Kau said.
She said the bottom-up approach empowers local people and encourages community participation. According to Ms Kau, there is potential for tourism development in Jiwaka province, but there are many obstacles as well which need to be dealt with accordingly.
“Key issues preventing community participation in tourism are corruption in the government, limited government funding, security and law and order problems, and issues related to tourism marketing and policy implementation at the national, provincial and district levels.”
Ms Kau said her study adds new knowledge to existing literature in tourism hence can be used for tourism development in Jiwaka province.
Ms Kau’s presentation was part of the overall program in the week-long Convention which was aimed at building and empowering young people to live and contribute positively to the developments in Jiwaka province.