By DAVID SUSUVE
ON Friday, Jan 1, 2021, I decided to take a trip with my family to my home place Iokea Village.
Iokea is located along the eastern coast of Kerema LLG in Gulf.
The trip there from the nearest urban centre, Port Moresby, is illustrative of the many challenges experienced by the local community.
It takes nearly five hours to reach the village if you’re travelling on a highway PMV truck.
After hours of travelling, we arrived safely and rested for the night.
The next day, I took my family around the village to show them places and the beachfront, since they never got to tour the village on previous trips.
Sitting under the shady “Naipi” (coconut shade) at Faukiri beach, while enjoying the comfort of the black sandy beach and waves breaking on the ebony shoreline, I was thrilled!
Iokea is heavily populated and has so much tourism potential yet remains a sleeping giant amongst heavyweight tourism places in Papua New Guinea.
This prompted me to write this article on what this beautiful place could offer, if only it was developed into a tourism hub. Obviously in Iokea itself, we do have sites which can attract visitors and holiday-makers.
Not only that, but there’s a good view from the hills of Moru Iaro and Keroro where guesthouse can be set up for tourists.
“There’s also a Samoan cemetery, which needs a facelift for Samoan people to come and see the graves of their forefathers who brought missionary work into Gulf.
Iokea also has war relics between Lavare and Maiare, including a plane in the sea, which could attract visitors and make it become a one stop tourism spot.
For many years the people of Iokea have relied heavily on fishing and gardening abandoning other sectors including tourism, with the potential of turning their revenue income around for the better.’
I believe that if a tourism hub is developed, it will allow both tourists and the Iokea community a chance to experience other cultures and broaden their understanding.
I’m sure Iokea is not the only potential tourism destination, but there are other villages that can qualify as attractions to tourists.
Gulf is not commonly known for tourism like other provinces, however, that can change if leaders of the province work collectively by shifting their attention into promoting tourism, as it is a key tool to drive the economy.
The famous line Kerema, yu no save, yu yet kam na lukim is not just a saying. It reflects a thousand meanings, if it is looked at on the positive side.
I believe if local leaders work in collaboration and identify issues that need to be tackled, their future will look better and different from the past.
As the saying goes, you cannot be disappointed that you don’t have what you didn’t know you wanted. Get clear about what you really want then pursue it with determination.
- David Susuve is a freelance writer.