PNG must capitalise on potential as tourist spot

Letters, Normal

The National, Thursday February 20th, 2014

 CHINESE ambassador Qui  Bohua’s concern that law and order problem remains a major issue for PNG (The National, Feb 13) is something the government and relevant authorities, including the public, should seriously take note of. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a joint research presentation with a Chinese  PhD  student  in  leisure  and tourism in exploring ways on how PNG can best employ to attract more Chinese holidaymakers rather than having them visit Australia, New Zealand, Fiji or elsewhere within the region. 

Based on our findings, I was surprised to learn than 729,000 Chinese tourists visited Australia in 2012 while just over 600 visited PNG, according to statistics obtained from the official Chinese National Tourism Administration. 

Remember, these are holidaymakers and not business investors. 

Furthermore, over 41 million Chinese holidaymakers visited other countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and  Indonesia in 2012. 

Other interesting statistics revealed that within the Christmas period of 2012, Chinese holidaymakers spent UK£1 billion (K4.1 billion) in the United Kingdom just within seven days. 

My Chinese colleague went on to explain that PNG’s security problems was the big turn-away for most potential Chinese holidaymakers, although  they  have  heard  of exciting  stories about PNG as a tourist destination. 

Other concerns included issues such as Air Niugini’s monopoly on airline  routes that result in high airfares, high internet and telephone rates, high cost of accommodation, the  need  for  an aggressive marketing drive in the Chinese market as well  as PNG’s lack of quality and reliable transport infrastructure, among others. 

We live in an ‘Asian century’, but PNG seems to be missing out badly in terms of generating tourism kina, especially from the Chinese market compared to our regional neighbours. 

Revenue from non-renewable resources like oil and gas, gold or copper  must  be used to make PNG an  attractive tourism destination, just like what the United Arab Emirates is doing. 

What the Chinese ambassador says about PNG’s law and order issues must not be taken lightly because he is reminding us to seriously address this problem, so that we can attract more international tourists, including the Chinese.


Freddy Gigmai