ICCC raises concerns on hotel rates

The hotel industry remains one of those unregulated industries in the country.

Over the years, consumer watch dog and economic regulator, the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission, has received complaints from consumers regarding the increasing hotel rates, in particular 5-star hotels in the nation’s capital.

Port Moresby in the past three years has seen more developments in hotels however, the increase in the supply of rooms is not reflected in the rates.

Concerns are now being raised by Independent Consumer and Competition Commission on the recent increase on hotel room rates in Port Moresby.

Commissioner Paulus Ain yesterday issued an appeal to the hotel industry to reconsider its rates that is being applied in the country.

He said hotel rates in Port Moresby started to increase during construction phase of the PNG LNG project when there was an influx of expatriates, investors and business travelers, causing a strain on the limited supply of high-end rooms.

“The demand has eventually eased off due to the completion of the PNG LNG project, however the hotel room rates have never subsided,” Ain said.

He said they have also received complaints from APEC First and Second Senior Officials’ Meeting, saying hotel rates in Port Moresby are more expensive compared to other very close neighbour economies.

Given the increase in hotel rooms in Port Moresby, compared to previous years, Commissioner Ain says the hotel rates should be responsive to supply change.

With the industry being unregulated, awareness call is the first step taken by the consumer watch dog, before a market enquiry can be carried out to decide if the industry should be regulated.

Sally Pokiton