Islands News

Promoting Tourism in East New Britain

East New Britain’s plan to transform the province into a tourism hot spot is hampered by lack of tourism products.

What’s being heard of about East New Britain province are the much talked about plans and strategies to make the province a tourism destination for Papua New Guinea.

But to make that happen, it needs more effort than it seems.

Michael Turkia of Tiratira Consultancy Services has come up with the idea to run a week-long workshop in Kokopo, after realizing that the key aspects of attracting foreign tourist to East New Britain province are still missing in the proposed tourism plan.

Aspects like, involving the local people to participate in tourism developments, identifying and packaging possible tourism sites and accommodations are not given the priority.

“The preparations are far behind. There are a lot more expectations; a lot more projects have to be package within a short time. Our purpose for running the workshop is to make clarifications to a lot of people, especially the ordinary citizens about the industry,” Mr. Turkia said.

About 13 tourist ships visited East New Britain province last year, and left on the same day.

The workshop this week wants to look at the available avenues to attract more tourists, and keep them at least for a much longer period in the province.

“The policy at the national level must be driven right down to the community level so that the people are aware of how they can contribute to the industry,” said Albert Buanga, a representative from the office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

East New Britain province is once known as the biggest producer of cocoa and coconut in the country.

But until recently, tourism has been added to its list as another biggest earner for both, the province and the country.

However, the awareness and information about tourism are not trickling down to the ordinary people, who are the main drivers of the industry.

It’s small consultancy services like Tiratira that are trying to fill up the void between the provincial government and the people, so that the tourism concept can be turned into something tangible.

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