|Tourism Promotion Authority chief executive officer Jerry Agus shows the National Geographic Traveler’s Best of the World 2017 destinations, of which Papua New Guinea is included.|
The highly-anticipated annual list will be unveiled in the December 2016/January 2017 issue of the magazine, which became available on newsstands nationwide in the USA starting November 29, and online November 17 at NatGeoTravel.com/BestTrips2017.
The 2017 Best of the World destinations are (in alphabetical order):
• Anchorage, Alaska, USA
• Baja California National Marine Parks, Mexico
• Banff, Alberta, Canada
• Canton Uri, Switzerland
• Cartagena, Colombia
• Central India’s National Parks
• Chengdu, China
• Cradle of Humankind, South Africa
• Ecuador’s Cloud Forests
• Georgia, USA
• Guadeloupe Islands
• Hamburg, Germany
• Kauai, Hawaii, USA
• Madrid, Spain
• Marrakech, Morocco
• Moscow, Russia
• Papua New Guinea
• Seoul, Korea
• Via Dinarica, Western Balkans
“The selection process was competitive and involved nominations from National Geographic Traveler’s worldwide network of editors, writers and explorers,” the magazine said in a letter to the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority.
“National Geographic Traveler has the largest audience of any travel magazine, with more than 8.5 million readers.
“Our readers love to travel, with the highest passport ownership, most international and domestic trips, and most outdoor recreation spending of any travel title.”
A jubilant TPA chief executive officer said that the vote-of-confidence by the widely-circulated magazine was just what the doctor ordered for PNG.
“Most of the tourist agents, wholesalers, everybody within the tourism and travel industry regard this as one of their very-important magazines,” he said.
“People read National Geographic to find out which destination is the best destination they can go to.
“For the first time, Papua New Guinea has been identified as one of top 21 destinations that tourists want to visit in 2017.”
Agus said one of the major attractions was PNG’s cultural diversity.
“There are a lot of places in the world that also have cultures and traditions, but Papua New Guinea is rated as one of the cultural meccas of the world,” he said.
“There’s no other place in the world where you get the cultural diversity and uniqueness.
“You travel every kilometre, the language changes, the culture changes, the way of doing things completely changes.
“We always say that in terms of cultural diversity, nobody beats us, and National Geographic reaffirms what we’ve been saying all along.
“Our cultures and our traditions, together with our natural attractions, is one biggest strength.
“Papua New Guinea is not a destination where you go to five-star resorts, it is not a destination where you go for shopping, our attractions are our cultures and our natural beauty.
“National Geographic has truly picked that out through their own independent assessment.
“It truly reaffirms that Papua New Guinea is truly one of the must-see destinations.
“It is not easy to get into the exclusive club of these 21 destinations, and for Papua New Guinea to get into that is a big story for us.
“We are happy, excited, and we want to take advantage of that.
“On the back of that, next year we’ll be doing more marketing and promotion throughout the world, especially in our major source market.
“On the domestic front, we want to do more product development, more awareness, so that people know the importance of tourism.
“Once people embrace tourism, everybody will play their part, so tourism can really flourish.”