By TROY TAULE UPNG journalism student
THE Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA) has condemned the abduction and rape of an Australian woman youth ambassador last weekend in Madang.
PNGTPA acting chief executive officer William Bando said the image of the country and the tourism industry, which TPA had tried to promote, was now tarnished by the actions of a few.
“Our greatest impediment to tourism growth and development is our own people’s no-care attitude and the latest incident by a handful minority has sunk our reputation far deeper.
“While such incidents are not isolated to our country, every precaution must be taken. We will follow through to ensure the offenders face the full force of the law,” he said.
Bando added that the Australian market contributed more than 50% of visitor arrivals in PNG and such attacks would be a hindrance to tourism.
“We must appreciate that tourism is beneficial to everyone and we must embrace on the sustainable returns the industry has to offer.
“We have all the products, especially in eco-tourism that are not overly exploited as in other countries and visitors are willing to spend to indulge themselves in every tourism activity this country has to offer.”
He said that the TPA commended the Madang police for apprehending the suspects involved in the attack and that TPA was prepared to engage a lawyer to ensure justice was done.
“TPA, as an organisation that advocates tourism in the country, we are deeply sorry and we detest such attacks on our visitors.
“We sincerely sympathise with the victim and the three youth ambassadors that were also attacked and their families.
“We call on everyone to bring back Madang to its glory days as the hub of tourism in PNG,” Bando said.