By Malum Nalu
Gulf is not well known for tourism like other provinces, however, all that could soon change with support from the Government, says Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel.
He said this after visiting a beachfront project at Iokea village with Governor Chris Haiveta and Youth Religion and Community Development Minister Soroi Eoe last Wednesday.
The project, started by popular artist Robert Oeka of the Hollie Maea Band, consists of three village huts at the scenic Moru Earo Beach with its black sand.
Iokea also has historical sites like the cemetery of Samoan missionaries who worked at the London Missionary Society-run Moru mission station and other parts of Gulf, scenic windswept hills with panoramic views of the Papuan Gulf, and others.
Abel, whose mother is from Iokea, commended Oeka and his family, as well as landowners, for taking up the tourism initiative “in their small piece of paradise”.
“The first market that he should look at is the local market,” he said.
Abel said as the Papua LNG Project got underway new opportunities would arise.
“We will then have an internal market that can come and access areas like this,” he said.
“You need to work with the governor, or even myself and Soroi, but you need facilities here, then you can look at things like conferences and things like that.
“To get overseas tourists to come and visit is going to be a bit harder.
“You need surfing, or the crayfish migration season, to attract tourists.
“You have to create and build a product and that’s not easy.”
Oeka said Iokea already had products that could attract visitors and holidaymakers.
“I wish one day that these can one day become a reality,” he said.
“I’m starting with these guesthouses and barbeque area, but my idea is to have a one-stop shop, tourism centre.
“It’s a dream that I have and
I hope that one day it can become a reality.”
By Malum Nalu