Government diversifying economic base

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FINANCE Minister James Marape, pictured, says the Government is diversifying its economic base to industries such as tourism and move away from its dependence on mining and petroleum.
He yesterday opened the United Nations World Tourism Organisation national forum on Sustainable Tourism for Development in Port Moresby, attended by 17 countries.
“That is the resolve and commitment that we have as a Government,” Marape said.
“We will definitely shift our focus away from mining and oil, and bring more attention into this (tourism) sector, which in our view can hold the economy.
Marape said Papua New Guinea would become a better destination for visitors on leisure and business.
He told the forum participants: “Come back to us five years from now and you will see what this country will be.”
Marape said despite financial constraints, there were allocations in the Government’s public investment programme to the tourism sector.
“That is an indication that our investment in tourism is starting to receive attention and focus,” he said. Marape said Government investment in the past five years had been in education, health and infrastructure.
Provincial and district funds should be able to stimulate the growth of tourism, the finance minister said.
“Tourism is not only about Port Moresby and the five-star hotels in the city,” Marape said.
“Real tourism products lie in rural areas of Papua New Guinea.
“That is why I encourage those of you in the districts that if nothing is happening, ask your member what he or she has done with the allocated funds given to the district and province.”

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