By ISAAC LIRI
THE influx of tourists into Eastern Highlands is a result of the people’s hospitality, says Eastern Highlands Tourism Bureau director Lucian Taria.
During the Goroka show this month, the provincial tourism office in the province collected data using a database set up with their partners Air Niugini, Airlines PNG and the National Airport Corporation.
The results were overwhelming: 1000 tourists both international and domestic visited Goroka for the show on Sept 15 and 16.
“This reflects the good image of Eastern Highlands,” Taria said.
“In that regard, I can commend the people of Eastern Highlands.
“Credit goes back to them and how they behave, their attitude.
“Unlike some resource-rich provinces, Eastern Highlands has proven to be a leading province in tourism.
“We have facts and figures to prove that with our database.
“Law-and-order cuts through all sectors of development.
“Eastern Highlands has better law-and-order than other provinces so tourists enjoy their stay here. “Law-and-order can be a setback for the industry.
“We can have good attraction and good shows, but when we have law-and-order problems people won’t come. People of Eastern Highlands are very hospitable and they play an important role in the industry and basically the Goroka Show.
“When the tourists come into the province, the cash flow is scattered: They get to spend money on arts and crafts that is sold outside of the show as well in front of hotels.
“Both the tourists and the people of Eastern Highlands have shown the provincial government that the industry in the province has to be a priority in terms of budget allocation.” Taria said with the influx of tourists coming into province and the huge interest in the Goroka Show, advance bookings and payments for accommodation at such hotels like the Bird of Paradise in Goroka were made in advance.
“There are a lot of tourists who are aware of the Goroka Show,” he said
- Isaac Liri is a freelance journalist