Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Improve tourist attractions in PNG to attract more tourists, says ADB

Asian Development Bank

The number of people visiting Papua New Guinea increased by 166% in the 10 years from 2005 to 2015.

However, a new brief from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns that continued visitor growth is not inevitable and that government action is needed to help attract more of the lucrative tourist market.

Despite the high growth in visitor numbers, tourism revenue in PNG remains low compared to other Pacific countries.

 The ADB brief, Tourism as a Driver of Growth in the Pacific: A Pathway to Growth and Prosperity for Pacific Island Countries, offers a number of recommendations, including some specific to PNG, to help the country grow its tourism sector.

As a first step, it recommends the national tourism policies be reviewed with a view to increasing visitor numbers and spending.

It also recommends fostering tourist attractions around the country, such as developing Madang as a tourist destination, especially for cruise ships, and increasing Mount Wilhelm’s tourism potential by improving access to it.

The brief also says restoration of the Baiyer River Sanctuary could attract tourists to the area.

The brief identifies tourism as a unique opportunity for economic growth in the coming decade that could help Pacific island countries self-sufficiently fund national objectives, such as improved health services, education and transport.
Along with generating employment and income growth across the region, tourism development can serve as a catalyst for the protection and preservation of natural and cultural assets, the brief notes.

Visitor numbers across six Pacific countries examined have increased by almost 50% in the past 10 years, but the brief warns that continued tourism sector growth will not happen automatically, and that its benefits will continue to be unevenly distributed unless governments take action.

The brief recommends countries create an enabling environment to facilitate tourism growth and maximise its benefits.

This means investing in infrastructure, human resources, and product development and marketing, as well as ensuring that tourism policy, strategy, and the regulatory environment are designed to grow the sector sustainably.

“While many Pacific countries are using tourism effectively to generate income and employment, opportunities exist to expand and increase its benefits and ensure its sustainability,” said Rob Jauncey, Regional Advisor with ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office.

“As Pacific countries develop and pursue strategies to grow their tourism sectors, ADB stands ready to offer insight and advice, and provide technical assistance, finance, or coordination support.”

The brief was produced by ADB’s Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI), a regional technical assistance program undertaken in partnership with the governments of Australia and New Zealand.

PSDI works with ADB's 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth.

It has operated in the region for 11 years and assisted with more than 300 reforms.

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