Currently, the tourism industry in PNG contributes less than 2% to PNG’s GDP and is way below the regional average of 20%.
Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Tobias Kulang said this during the launch of the Tourism Policing Concept that the underperformance of this important industry is due to many factors and one of the leading factors is law and order.
“PNG is ranked as one of the dangerous places on earth and there is a lingering stigma in the minds if the international community.”
Kulang said, trying to market the country with our limited resources with this back drop has been a continuing challenge for PNG Tourism Authority and the Ministry.
“The Tourism Police concept is a successful concept that has been tried in many countries and the operations has proven greater comfort, security wise to many travellers where this concept is in operation.”
He adds that the concept was tried in Kundiawa Gembolg District four years ago and has also proven to be successful in not only securing the passage to Mt Wilhelm but has also assisted in improving law and order in the district.
He said as a result of the Tourism Police, there has been an increase in the number of tourists visiting the district and Mt Wilhelm.
He added that under the current government policy, East New Britain, Milne Bay, Western Highlands Provinces have also been identified as target provinces for tourism development and a lot of investments are going into these provinces as they have been attracting increased number of visitors.
“To improve our penetration of the global tourism market and to secure our products and destination, the integration of tourism police into our tourism development plans and strategies would earn results we desperately desire.”
Kulang called on the Commissioner for Police to consider integrating the Tourism Police into the formal structure of the RPNGC.