Smith keen to promote PNG as a tourist destination

National, Normal

The National, Friday June 21st, 2013

 FORMER Australian of the Year, entrepreneur, businessman, aviator explorer and political activitist Dick Smith may be the answer to Papua New Guinea’s search for an influential tourist promoter.

He has told Madang Resort Hotel owner and businessman Sir Peter Barter that he is keen to promote PNG as a tourism destination to Australians.

One of the most successful businessmen in Australasia, with a chain of electronic stores in Australia and New Zealand, Smith wants to be a PNG tourism ambassador and tell Australians that PNG is perhaps a better  country to visit than most of their destinations.

He has seen the potential this country has and has been impressed with what the natural beauty of the land, rainforests and marine attractions have to offer, besides the usual tourist passion for the beach, sun and sand.

The founder of Dick Smith Electronics, Dick Smith Foods and Australian Geographic and perhaps one of the better known Australians who, these days, spends much time flying and exploring, Smith paid a brief visit to  the Madang Resort Hotel this week.  

He told Sir Peter that he had flown from Daru to Port Moresby, over the Kokoda Track then to Milne Bay, West New Britain, Rabaul and Kavieng where he was overwhelmed by the “extraordinary friendliness” of the people and spectacular scenery.

Smith said the tourist potential of Madang and PNG was amazing and he could not understand why few tourists came to the country.

Smith is flying his Bell 206 Helicopter VH-DIK through PNG. He has three helicopters and a private jet.

He has flown his helicopter solo around the world twice and made documentaries for Australian Geographic.  

Known as a staunch supporter of Australian products, Smith presented Sir Peter with a can of Dick Smith beetroot grown on Austalian farms as a means of reducing imported beetroot.

Smith told Sir Peter that in his travels around PNG, he regarded the Madang Resort a proper resort-style set up.