Monday, May 28, 2018

Preparations well underway in Papua New Guinea for APEC conference: official

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Preparations are well underway in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting, according to an official with the APEC PNG authority.

Christopher Hawkins, chief executive officer of the APEC PNG authority, told Xinhua recently that all buildings are well and truly on track, and "We will take possession of APEC House next month, that's where the leaders will be meeting."

"Other hotels or the convention centre are already established, but we are awaiting refurbishment at one or two more venues, but we will take possession of those ready for APEC in just a couple of months."

According to Hawkins, he and his team have also come up with some creative strategies to accommodate the travelling delegates and make sure the event runs smoothly.

"We do have a shortage of hotel rooms," he said.

"So what we have done is hire three cruise ships which are essentially floating hotels, to make up the shortfall."

Hawkins said they are now more determined than ever to showcase the spirit and resolve of the proud South Pacific nation.

"There is no doubt that PNG are a very resilient people and the recent tragedy has demonstrated that," he said, referring to the devastating 7.5 magnitude tremor back in February, along with a relentless series of aftershocks that followed, which have reportedly killed over 150 people in the mountainous central region.

With PNG riding a wave of economic success in recent years, Hawkins believes that APEC is the perfect platform to let the rest of the world learn more about the nation and its rich cultural history.

"There are a lot of people who don't know much at all about PNG," he explained.

"But there has been dramatic change taking place here and it has been 15 years of positive economic growth, despite the global financial crisis and the massive downfall in commodity prices."

The 2018 APEC summit will be held in November. The 2018 summit will be the first to be hosted by PNG.

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