The tourism industry is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide and has played a major role in increasing the wealth of nations. Tourism is a sector that represents a major opportunity for developing nations like PNG to increase their economic base, expand foreign exchange earnings while generating employment through a sector which is more labour intensive than other industrial or service sectors.
The PNG Strategic Development Plan 2010 – 2030 recognises that tourism in PNG offers a sustainable alternative to its non-renewable resource based industries, and as such is an investment in the long-term economic, social and environmental welfare of the country. However, PNG’s share of the South Pacific regional market is very small at only 5% of total arrivals, and less than 2% of the holiday market compared to its neighbouring islands, indicating that PNG tourism remains small by international standards. With PNG’s unique cultural heritage and rich natural environment can developing PNG’s tourism sector deliver the jobs of the future? Is tourism the answer to growing the economy beyond the resources boom and what challenges and opportunities lay ahead for this exciting sector?