PNG’s advantage in tourism

Papua New Guinea has a comparative advantage over other countries when it comes to commercialising its indigenous cultures and traditions.

With over 800 languages, CEO of the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority, Eric Uvovo, said this places PNG in a much better position.

Speaking at the Momase regional consultation workshop, CEO of the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority, Eric Uvovo, said the newly-developed National Cultural Policy 2022-2032 comes at a time when cultures are undergoing changes due to technological advancements.

The policy will ensure the preservation of PNG’s culture while generating much-needed revenue at the same time.

“I think this policy is timely,” he stated. “Culture is maintained and controlled by the National Cultural Commission because they are mandated to look after culture.

“TPA we only promote whatever culture they have; they look after cultural events and all that. As sister agencies, we work together.”

Uvovo drew attention to a 2019 International Visitor Survey, conducted by the International Finance Corporation, which noted that almost 95,000 visitors arrived by air to PNG in 2018.

The research said this generated more than K690 million of spending into the country’s economy, further noting the enormous potential PNG has in growing its tourism market.

“The number one product we have is culture,” Uvovo stressed. “And the global value for culture is US$450 billion.

“You imagine, that’s quite a staggering and significant amount of money involved. And we have not captured 1 percent of that market, even though we have a very diverse culture.

“If we had captured 1 percent, we do not need the LNG (project). We can sell our country on this renewable and sustainable resource; our culture in itself.”

Uvovo said this is why the NCC CEO, Steven Kilanda, is championing an important policy process that will capture PNG’s heart, its musicians and ways of life.

Carmella Gware