Tourism can build economy, says Kulang

In May, the World Tourism Organisation declared 2017 as the Year of Tourism in recognition of the fact that the sector, now on average, contributes to 10 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Tobias Kulang, during the naming ceremony of Air Niugini’s Fokker 70 “Alotau”, says tourism is not just some leisure activity; it is a critical aspect that builds the economy.

“Tourism is sustaining a lot of economies in the region but for PNG, tourism contributes only 2 percent to the country’s GDP when in comparison, I believe we have a lot of potential,” Kulang says.

The Tourism Ministry acknowledges the key position that airlines play in promoting the industry in PNG. They help to access key markets even though we are still struggling with the numbers.

For the last three to four years, the total number of tourists coming into the country has decreased to less than 200,000 and there is a need to break that, says the Minister.

He says there is a need to be innovative in our strategies to get more tourism activities into our country.

Kulang adds that currently, PNG is an undesired destination because firstly, we are an expensive destination and second are the law and order issues.

For the law and order issue, it is here to stay and we can only do as much as we can. However, Kulang says we can try to control the issue of pricing, to help our consumers.

“Tourism can do more than just 2 percent and with the help of airline services, especially Air Niugini, PNG can lift its tourism percentage up another notch and contribute to the revenue of our country.”

Annette Kora