By STEPHANIE ELIZAH
THE Tourism Promotion Authority and Office of Tourism Arts and Culture need to establish tourism offices in districts around the country, principal director of Eco Tourism Training Services Francis Steven said.
Steven suggested that establishing district tourism offices would efficiently assist and manage the country’s multi-million kina tourism industry.
“If we establish tourism offices right in the districts, the task of carrying out awareness, disseminating latest information and facilitating training for the rural communities would be made much easier,” he said.
He also said PNG was blessed with beautiful scenery and unique culture and biodiversity which people around the world would find attractive and would spend money to have these unique experiences.
“This is not happening fast enough because the majority of our rural communities have not been accessed,” Steven said.
“Our people are not aware of the money-making opportunities they have from their environment.
“There is not enough awareness being made on the benefits of eco-tourism at these district levels.”
Steven also emphasised that both the Tourism Promotion Authority and the Office of Tourism Arts and Culture needed to further transfer the functions of provincial tourism offices to the districts.
“People making policies need to get down to the village level to see the real beauty of our products,” he said.
“TPA need to stay with the people, do more training workshops in villages on what is eco tourism.
“There should be more research made into what attractive products we have that can be valued and marketed in the tourism industry,” he said.