PNG May Offer Visa on Arrival to Australian Tourists

by Quinton Alomp – EM TV News, Port Moresby

The O’Neill-Dion government is likely to overturn the ban on visas on arrival for Australians into Papua New Guinea.

However, it may be restricted only to tourists entering Alotau’s Gurney and Mount Hagen’s Kagamuga airports.

The possibility of revisiting and lifting the ban is high but will specifically give reference to tourists entering the two airports.

Australians travelling to Port Moresby’s Jacksons international airport on business will not be included in this plan.

National Planning Minister, Charles Able, said this is part of the National Government’s commitment to improve tourism sector in the country.

“This is this government’s commitment to tourism.

“We can get tourists into tourism zone areas a bit more cheaply and directly,” Minister Able said.

Last Friday the Tourism Zone Support Initiative (TZSI) steering committee, led by Chairman, Mal Lewis, and all partners including the National Airports Corporation, Immigrations, Tourism Arts and Culture and Milne Bay provincial government, met in Alotau and passed a resolution to get direct flights out of Brisbane to Gurney airport.

The committee resolved that the first direct flight from Brisbane to Gurney is scheduled to land on 7 October 2016.

“We have 12 months now to work towards this deadline in terms of completing allocated tasks to ensure that this and subsequent flights will continue smoothly,” TZSI Chairman, Mal Lewis said.

Gurney airport will receive international flights next October followed by Kagamuga.

However, major upgrades are required in the terminal and the extension of the runway.

Alotau and Mount Hagen are conductive for tourism and the national government has allocated K20 million in the 2015 budget to develop airport facilities to get direct flights cheaply to boost tourism.

“We can use these areas as entry hub and they (tourists) can then connect from Hagen and Gurney to other provinces,” Able said.

The visa on arrival is likely to be restricted only to tourists.

Australians received visas on arrival previously, however after the Abbott government refused to grant PNG government’s bid for visas on arrival for PNG citizens in Australia, the service was terminated on December 2013.

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