Show a hit with 1000 tourists

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THE 24th National Mask Festival and the National Gaming Control Board Warwagira in Kokopo last week cost K400,000 and attracted 1000 international tourists, organisers say.
Organising committee deputy chairman Tiolam Wawaga said yesterday that 180 different performing groups from Pomio, Sulka, Baining and the main Gazelle Peninsula performed during the festival.
Different cultural groups from the University of Natural Resources and Environment also performed.
“The highlight of the festival was the Kinavai event where Tolai Tubuans performed on canoes on the sea,” Wawaga said.
“That took place early dawn last Thursday.
“It attracted hundreds of locals and tourists.
“The other performance that attracted many locals and tourists was the Baining fire dance.”
Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae opened the event, saying that the theme of ‘preserving culture, engaging and empowering youths’ was fitting for today’s society.
He said culture helped to shape people’s lives, in terms of having respect and living harmoniously with others in the community.
East New Britain deputy governor Cosmas Bauk said early childhood learning should be used to promote traditional cultures and values.
National Gaming Control Board pledged to support the festival next year.
Chief executive Imelda Agon announced a commitment of K150,000 for next year.
She said cultural festivals brought in tourists and grew the local economy.
Agon challenged the organising committee to work with hoteliers to ensure tourists were well looked after.
Wawaga said businesses also participated at the festival by putting up stalls and promoting their products and services.
The Warwagira Festival ended on Sunday with a church service and choir performance.

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