Tourism has huge potential: Minister

The National, Monday July 11th, 2016

TOURISM Minister Tobias Kulang says that the tourism industry has been neglected despite its huge potential to contribute to the national economy.
Kulang said tourism was a sleeping giant and unfortunately not given the respect it deserved to be able to contribute to the economy.
“We have a lot to offer to the world,” he said.
Kulang launched the Lukim PNG Nau Tourism Expo and Forum at the Cosmopolitan nightclub at Vision City, Port Moresby.
He said tourism contributed 10 per cent to the world gross domestic product.
“But in the South Pacific region, we are no way near our small island neighbours though we have a lot to offer.
“Vanuatu is leading with 40 per cent of tourist visitors followed by Fiji with 37 per cent and the rest are over 10 per cent.
“PNG is stuck to 2.1 per cent because ‘we have been giving lip service to this industry’.
“We are feeling the pinch of the global economy. If we had invested in tourism earlier, we could have been laughing away by now.”
Meanwhile, PNG TPA chief executive officer Jerry Agus said politicians and bureaucrats had been talking about the potential of tourism for a long time.
“Tourism and agriculture are the sleeping giants of PNG and we haven’t developed them because when we wake up we will be too late.”
Agus said that some money generated from the petroleum and mining industries needed to be invested in sustainable industries like tourism and agriculture.