TPA taking steps to check foreign tour groups: IPA

Business, Normal

The National

THE Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) says foreign companies operating as tour operators in the country “do not have a clear-cut business operation”.
In a statement, IPA said the Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) had now taken steps to regulate the industry by developing the Tour Operators Code of Conduct for all operators in PNG and abroad.
“This will mean that tour operators will be expected to comply with the necessary rules and regulations of the Government before doing business in PNG,” IPA said in a statement authorised by managing director Ivan Pomaleu.
The Investment Promotion Act says that any one-off or an isolated business transaction by a foreign company that is concluded within a period of less than 31 days does not require the company to be certified by IPA to do business in the country.
However, if the business is undertaken repeatedly over time, then that foreign company is deemed to be carrying on business in PNG and is required to be certified by IPA to operate in that business activity in the country.
IPA said tourism in PNG was never recognised by the Government as a key economic sector until the development of the Government’s 2005-15 medium-term development strategy (MTDS).
“Being such, the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA) has been focusing its effort on marketing and promoting the destination than regulating the industry.
IPA said foreign tour operators visited the country on ad hoc basis with varying number of days in PNG, and further complicated the monitoring of tour leaders or tour operators coming with their tourists.