Travel cost high: Sir Peter

The National,Tuesday June 21st, 2016

MADANG tourism operator Sir Peter Barter says travel cost in Papua New Guinea is expensive and is one of the challenges facing the tourism industry.
“Travel in PNG is expensive.  It also tends to be unreliable and has deterred tourism operators from confidently selling PNG as a destination,” he said.
“Air Niugini went through a very bad period where many flights were disrupted domestically and internationally. Fortunately they have improved but the memory in the minds of operators still exists.
“Everyone seems to come up with stories about how expensive it is to visit PNG and to travel within PNG.
“I personally found it less expensive to fly to Cairns, travel by Jet star to Narita than take the Air Niugini flight from Port Moresby to Narita.
“Others talk about the cost of the Singapore-Port Moresby flight costing more than the flight from Singapore to Europe.
“Within PNG flights between provincial centres at one stage were completely cut when Talair and Airlink ceased operation, some of these flights have been reinstated.
“But tour operators selling tours within PNG are forced to use Port Moresby as a hub this increasing inconvenience and costs substantially.”
He said attempts to get a response from Air Niugini on many occasions failed.
“Major roads need to be maintained, the Highlands and Ramu Highway to name a few,” he said.
“But in the case of Madang, the roads to Kundiawa via Bundi Gap and to Mt Hagen via Simbai, Jimi Valley would also provide access to some of the most interesting districts in PNG and reduce the reliance on expensive air travel.”