Tourism Promotion Authority chief executive officer Jerry Agus said the reactions from the visiting teams and those in their home countries has been very positive thus far since the start of the competition.
Agus said many of the players, team officials and family and friends had to Google search PNG and initially had reservations about coming but after several weeks in the country, any negative perceptions they may have had has been erased.
He said the most important thing was that the people of Port Moresby and PNG generally have whole heartedly embraced the world cup.
“Our people have been tremendous. The true PNG spirit of friendship has been on display by our people since day one when welcoming each of the teams at the airport and simply by smiling and waving at our visitors everywhere they travel in the city,” he said.
Agus said PNG as a destination continues to suffer from a negative image perception mainly generated through the media both locally and overseas so the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup has been one of the best things that has ever happened for PNG in a long time.
He also commended the national government for taking the bold step in bringing the world event to PNG.
He said PNG’s hosting of major regional and international events such as the Pacific Games and the APEC Forum in 2018 would be a perfect platform to sell PNG as a desired tourism destination.
“There has been a lot of criticism towards the government relating to the costs involved in hosting such an event but long term benefits to the nation especially from a tourism perspective are huge going forward,” he said.
Agus said the millions of television viewers worldwide and on social media platforms such as Face Book, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram over the last few weeks have really raised a positive profile of PNG.
He said if the world didn’t already know about Papua New Guinea as a destination, they now know because of the FIFA U20 Womens’ World Cup and this goes a long way in making TPA’s job easier in marketing and promoting PNG overseas.
Agus said the FIFA Women’s Under20 World Cup that ended on Saturday night, “but the spirit of respect for one another and welcoming our visitors with a smile must continue because it’s a perfect catalyst for flourishing tourism in PNG,” he said.