Bougainville Tourism News : President Momis discovers the tourism potential of PokPok Island

IMG_81851 Momis 2

The people of Pokpok Island put on their best welcome at short notice to welcome the President of their Autonomous Region of Bougainville the Hon Dr Chief John Momis MHR and Mrs Momis during their visit to the Island on Monday 21 March 2016. It was the first visit for the President and Mrs Momis to the Island.

In his welcome Chief Peter Garuai of Pokpok Island told the President that his Island community was honoured and privileged by his visit, this being also his first to the Island.

It was an important visit, brief though it was, because it provided an opportunity for people in the community to see and meet their President face to face. Visits to communities by leaders are moments that people savour as they are occasions when people can hear from the Government as well as talk directly to the leaders like their President.

IMG_81581

In a traditional welcome led by the village women elders the President and his main party were adorn with fresh herbal necklaces and anointed with fresh toronisi coconut oil. The President and his accompanying dignitaries took turns to help themselves to the local Nasioi delicacy tamatama that is offered to visitors.

A swarm of elementary and primary school children were also on hand to welcome the President and Mrs Momis as important guests on this occasion. Pokpok has two elementary schools and a primary school on the Island.

See website

Chief Peter Garuai told the President that any development in tourism on the islands and the benefits that accrue from tourism must be clean, lean and environmentally and people friendly with importance of conservation foremost in the minds of everyone involved. He said the islands are fragile and any tourist development must blend in with what the islands offer in terms of its pristine but fragile environment and must be always be in consultation with the population.

Chief Garuai said the potential for tourism must go hand in hand with the need and importance for conservation and said the local people are the expertise on protection and conservation on their islands. Everyone on the Island grows up knowing that they belong to the island and the sea. It  is a fragile landscape but it is inextricable connection which the people here have always been a part of, not separate from it.

Chief Garuai also explained how Pokpok Island was recently granted its long time wish to have its own Village Assembly (VA) which comprised the main village of Pokpok and  Sisirai and Uruna villages, a number of hamlets on the Island as well as a number of hamlets and settlements along Siipa bay on the mainland. The islanders settled on the name Metora Village Assembly for their VA, a name signifying communities dwelling along the coast and off the sea. The name Metora also behoves a sense of care and responsibility for an environment that is fragile and predisposed to the vagaries of open sea and unpredictable weather. It is  the name that is also given to coral sand islands and shoal formations on the outer reefs which people use as resting places while out diving or fishing as well as for initiations of young girls and boys before they can venture out to the barrier reefs on their own.

The Chief, Peter Garuai also pointed out that what is beautiful requires a great deal of thought and responsibility to care for and maintain. In this regard the threat of global warming is real for all islands like Pokpok along the coast of mainland Bougainville as much as it is real for the outer atolls. He mentioned government help was needed with materials for the islanders to construct sea walls to protect the villages on Pokpok, the main village in particular. Some of this has been started but government input in providing materials was urgently needed.

The chairperson and president-elect of the Pokpok and Metora Women’s Association Ms Mary Gula also welcomed President Momis and Mrs Momis on behalf of the women on the Island. She said that Bougainville was blessed with women leaders taking on roles for the betterment of women in society through their involvement as equals in decision making at leadership level.

 

IMG_82141

An Island where children find their place steeped in culture and tradition from a young age

With increased demands for care and responsibility in the village women are also involved in many roles like never before. For this year the women’s association on the Island has embarked on a self-help project to build a women’s resource centre. The men are already involved in helping the women to realize this project and the beginnings of the project has also been supported with preparatory funds and leadership by the Speaker of Bougainville Parliament who is from Pokpok Island.

Ms Gula said women play a critical role of providing a steadying influence on the rapidly increasing young population on the Island and generally throughout Bougainville. She told the President any help that might be forthcoming from the government for the completion of the resource centre will be welcome.

The visit by the President was planned as a sight-seeing detour from the mainland by boat ride to interesting areas in Kieta Harbour surroundings and around Pokpok and Tautsina islands and to the once resort Island of Arovo. The Kieta Peninsula’s jutting beaches and Assio Bay and the sacred site areas of Eberia from the sea all offer very interesting sight-seeing tours by boat. Boat ride farther north towards Kobuan Bay is also the site of Pidia Village where Mr Pip was made on location.

In his response and remarks President Momis thanked the Chief, the women and the community for the traditional welcome. He said the ABG recognises the huge potential for tourism in Bougainville but it has to be developed in consultation and with the participation of its communities. He was very happy that the original owners here continued to protect and care for beautiful Kieta harbour and for the environment around the islands which supports their livelihood. He said any development by prospective investors in tourism must be done through thorough consultations and is meaningful and beneficial to local communities and must respect their traditions, cultures  and their natural environment.

SEE TOURISM WEBSITE for Pok Pok Tours

AA

Bougainville Tourism : Wakunai interesting sights, things ,places and people

32722115

In this article Simon Pentanu picks out interesting features, sights and things in Bougainville where most locals take the ordinariness of  life and place for granted.

After travelling the world whose variety of civilisations, traditions and cultures provide so much variety and spices of life, he says seeing and writing about things and places gives him a new lease of in the twilight years of retirement and rest from work. Here is his offering on Wakunai in Central Bougainville.

W . A . K . U . N . A . I .

Wakunai is one of three districts in Central region, central Bougainville. The other two districts are Kieta and Panguna. To those that have visited or have worked on Bougainville, Kieta and Panguna do not need much introduction.

Next time you are on the east coast highway from Buka to Arawa or all the way to the bottom end down south in Buin do yourself a favour and take a quick stop along Wakunai beach. You will be pleasantly surprised what meets with your eyes and senses. It is a breath of fresh air of the sea breeze facing out to the open sea. During and nearing the end of the crisis the same seas were part of the lanes for the plying sea traffic of outboard motors doing cargo supplies from Buka to Kieta. Wakunai station also served as the half way security check for sea traffic between Buka and Kieta. This is all in the past tense now.

bougainvilledistricts-map_png

 

Wakunai has a long, wide consuming bay where you’re a tiny speck in the distance with long, jutting peninsulas on either side which give the bay its width and vast expanse.

IMG_7892

Along its long beach with the Wakunai river mouth delta at the northern end pebbles and polished stones in assortment of smooth shapes, sizes, colours and contours adorn the black beach. They are bared out by the ebb and flow of the tides. They are nature’s work and a marvel to hold or carry and look at.

IMG_7899

Looking up from the beach this a place where the daily sunset disappears behind the ruminating Mt. Balbi, the highest altitude on Bougainville. On some very clear days the vents atop bare Balbi can be seen to jettison its own geyser-like white steams like a tired baldy old man at a very advanced age that is trying to exhale his puff and smoke in slow motion. It’s a clear view from the bluish black beach along Wakunai bay.

Nearby by the beach inland from Kiviri point is an overgrown Wakunai landing strip that has seen better days. You can’t see much of the strip driving by with kunai-like tall grass getting in the way. I can still vividly recall landing here on my first airborne travel on a TAA DC-3 in late January 1965 after taking off from a dirt Aropa airstrip on the way to Buka to start high school at Hutjena. The Wakunai airstrip is in disuse now but it is a short-cut walking track. It is also there, not really abandoned, if ever a distressed small aircraft or a helicopter might need it for emergency crash landing.

Wakunai used to boast one of the biggest coconut plantations in the southern hemisphere, the Numanuma plantation. Numa was planted during German times. The Numa WW2 track that traverses a tropical terrain from east to west starts here. The trek is either a trying and difficult walk or an exhilarating, refreshing walk to the west coast. It depends on level of fitness and mental preparedness to start and finish this personal challenge.

Wakunai’s evergreen hinterland and soaring hills and peaking mountains right up to and around Mt. Balbi remain a Pandora’s box with such tales as sightings of the mamanguria for example. This is the district where you cross the Red river with its source high in the mouintains, so named because of the red rocks on its river beds and banks that you can see from its old bailey bridge crossing.

This is Rotokas country. The Rotokas language holds the claim in the Guinness Book of Records as the indigenous language with the fewest vowels. Up inland on good, trafficable dirt road are Togerau and Ruruvu where there is majestic waterfall that attracts local visitors no end.

See Rotokas Ecotourism Info

Up here too is Bougainville’s first hydro project that is supposed to harness the Wakunai river at its multiple heads not far from the waterfall. Rotokas culture and traditions up here and further inland remain intact, including the Upe culture that is revered and protected here and along the West Coast.

The Upe symbol on the Bougainville flag livery gives the flag it most identifiable and conspicuous feature.

Flag

264-upe-boys-wakunai

The upe is totem-poled to mark the inner boundaries of Bougainville’s Parliament House at Kubu on Buka Island.

UPE 2

Wakunai district will also always hold pride of place and history on the Island where the first girls high school was established. The Catholic nuns from Australia from Society of Mary established the only girls Asitavi Girls High School when teaching began here with a handful of girls in 1959. The roll-call of girls who have passed through the school and done well in professional life and personal and family lives in the country and at home on Bougainville is a long one. The school as it exists today is worth a visit.

Next time you are travelling by road along the east coast highway, do yourself a favour and stop. Just like Colin Cowell did on a Bougainville Experience Tour last year

Bougtours

Or convince your driver to make the next relief stop by the beach. Walk Wakunai’s black beach and pick yourself a souvenir to take home, a small or large pebble polished by the ebb and flow of both sea and sand since creation They come in all sizes and are a marvel for all seasons. The rarer ones are the round and elongated, clayish- to-almost-mission- red colours.

Front cover-Sam

See All tours HERE

Six Day Bougainville Culture Tour

AA

 

Bougainville Agriculture News: Boost to cocoa industry in Bougainville PNG

bougainville-4

“Cocoa is Bougainville’s most important cash crop, involving about twothirds of Bougainville families,”

“Strengthening this industry will provide widespread benefits for the whole of the ABG, bringing in more money and providing much-needed employment opportunities.”

A recent study of Bougainville’s cocoa industry found farmers could comfortably triple their production by using the right planting materials and improving their management practices”

A new K7 million a year support package will help Bougainville cocoa farmers boost output, improve quality and gain better market access. The Commodity Support Facility (CSF), launched in Buka today (Thursday, March 17), is a joint economic development initiative of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the Governments of PNG, Australia and New Zealand.

The CSF offers grants and targeted assistance to cocoa farmers, dryers, fermenters and traders from across the autonomous region. The whole-of-industry support package will improve access to cocoa pod borer tolerant planting materials, and establish new farmer field schools to help smallholders lift production. Measures will include financial literacy and business management training, and a competition to design improved cocoa dryers and fermentaries.

The CSF will, in the future, expand to support other primary industries prioritised by the ABG, such as coconut or marine resources. ABG Minister for Primary Industries Nicholas Darku said the CSF would help Bougainville’s cocoa industry recover from the impact of the cocoa pod borer. “We have two ingredients on Bougainville. One is fertile soil; the other is hard working people.

“With this support, I know the industry will come back. We will increase our production and ensure Bougainville cements its reputation for producing fine flavour cocoa.” National Coordination Office for Bougainville Affairs A/g Director John Avira said cocoa is a very important cash crop for Bougainville.

“Alongside the CSF support, it is equally critical to have the access roads to bring the product to the market by the farmers,” Avira said “Partnership with other funding sources such as National members DSIP and PSIP could be explored to build roads to ensure the farmers are provided access to market.”

Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Rod Hilton said the CSF would work with private sector partners to ensure assistance was well targeted.

“We want to ensure that support goes to projects that strengthen Bougainville’s cocoa industry, and contribute to sustainable improvements in production and quality in all regions of Bougainville,” he said.

“That means working with big business, small business and communities, targeting innovators and entrepreneurs. But we also want to see positive impacts for disadvantaged groups, particularly women and young people.”

New Zealand High Commission Counsellor Development, Kathleen Pearce, said the CSF would help everyday Bougainvilleans earn more income and provide revenue for the ABG.

“Cocoa is Bougainville’s most important cash crop, involving about twothirds of Bougainville families,” Pearce said.

“Strengthening this industry will provide widespread benefits for the whole of the ABG, bringing in more money and providing much-needed employment opportunities.”

A recent study of Bougainville’s cocoa industry found farmers could comfortably triple their production by using the right planting materials and improving their management practices.

“I think they can go from about 200-500kg per hectare, to an average of 1500kg per hectare,” Agribusiness consultant David Anderson said. “But the genetic potential of the clones that are being provided to farmers is even higher; up to 2000kg or even 3000kg a hectare.”

Prior to the Bougainville Crisis, the now-autonomous region exported about 30,000 tonnes of cocoa.

Production had recovered to about 26,000 tonnes by 2009, when the cocoa pod borer hit the industry driving production down to about 13,000 tonnes today.

ENDS Enquiries: public-affairs-portmoresby@dfat.gov.au or phone: 325 9333 ext 276

Bougainville Tourism News : ” Green and clean “Tourist Development in Bougainville

MAP B

“We are getting there. We will get there. It requires careful planning, training, meaningful government support and private enterprise, including private operators to be involved together.

On top of it all perhaps, it requires an active Bougainville Tourism Association to be in place coordinating interests up front with a combination of foresight and passion for long term success in getting this green and clean industry on the right and firm footing in Bougainville.

“For every promotion and advertorial to attract tourists to our shores we must put even more effort to provide the facilities and services that tourists take for granted when they travel to well travelled and well developed tourist destinations in the region.

Simon Pentanu comes from Pokpok Island where the family has a home and private retreat. The Retreat promotes community participation and involvement of women and youth in the benefits of tourism on the Island. He believes and advocates that “small, rural and local is beautiful” across Bougainville.  See his Interim Website

Learning from Papua New Guinea  PNGTA

Every region, province, district, locality right down to the communities and villages in PNG has its unique attractions, wonders and mysteries yet to be discovered.

In an age when mass tourism for dollars and cents compete to lure tourists, PNG over the last 40 years has somewhat wisely and in its own laid back way chosen instead, wittingly or otherwise, to go the way of sense and sensibility rather than purely a grab for dollars and cents.

True, every tourist dollar is important. Indeed, for some small Island states it is both the breadbasket and the mainstay of their economy contributing sizeably to their annual GNP.

For PNG the preservation of its many traditions and cultures, many of them unique and surviving the onslaught of so called modern civilisation, has also occupied the minds and careful planning and consideration of those tasked with developing tourism policies and programs in PNGTA. This is admirable considering that the impact of tourism has its downsides as well. For every tribe, clan or sub-clan their culture is their identity in dance, drama, chants, prose and the plumage and attire they don on very special occasions. It counts for a lot more  than monetary gains.

Bougainville, which until 2010 was one of the twenty provinces of PNG, was also very much a part of PNG tourism planning that encompassed the more readily accessible provinces and areas. Bougainville, or North Solomons Province as it was known then, had a fully fledged and very well run tourism association that promoted sight-seeing, trekking, fishing, diving, a small group of motor cross enthusiasts  and regional and local cultural shows across north, central and south Bougainville. Most of its promotional activities, like much of the business and commerce at the time, was centred in central Bougainville where the Panguna copper mine was also situated.

 

kietaPicture above: In 1884 Bougainville came under the control of German Empire. Picturesque Kieta was established as Administrative Centre in 1905.

Picture below French tourists at Uruna Bay Retreat on Pokpok Island 2015.

Pic 2
While the mine was then the prime catalyst and lure for Bougainville’s development from out of the backwaters as a distant place from Port Moresby, its beauty as a tourist destination was obvious as early back as 247 years ago. This was when on 04 July 1768 the French explorer Capitaine’ Louis de Bougainville made landfall and noted in his journal then the existence of mountains of ‘prodigious’ heights. The Frenchman was so taken by its beauty he named the unchartered Island “Bougainville” in honour of his family.

Flash back at tourism in North Solomons Province

Prior to the crisis in the days of the NSP the Bougainville had a very active tourism association, the North Solomons Province Tourism Association (NSPTA). The Association was active in promoting tourism through brochures, post cards, promoting local artefacts and handcrafts, cultural events, walking, trekking, fishing, diving and pointing out the history and historical sites, relics and remnants of WW1 and WW2 on Bougainville. The Association provided a lot of interesting insights and reading as its contribution to what else Bougainville offered other than the huge copper mine that was the humongous money earner for the country up until the mined was shut in late 1989.

The Spanish prophetically named these isles after King Solomon, thinking they had discovered his gold mines. And truly in the heart of her bosom , Bougainville cradled one of the largest copper mines in the world [from NSPTA “Welcome to Bougainville” promotional brochure].

NSPTA published and distributed “Welcome to Bougainville” brochures promoting the Island that was here waiting to truly entertain you with her rich culture, her beautiful tropical environs, and her people. The awe inspiring beauty that captivated French Captain de Bougainville, well over two hundred years ago, has truly remained to this day. [from NSPTA].

Bougainville at its height in tourism then offered Arovo Island Resort as its jewel in its hospitality crown, a joint and cooperative effort of business houses, Bougainville Development Corporation and the NSPTA. Arovo provided good island accommodation, day visits, diving and dive shops and game fishing competitions to look forward to. Other hotel accommodation included the Davara Hotel at Toniva and Kieta Hotel.

The expatriate population around mining and from subcontract companies and independent investors provided a good source of “tourist” revenue venturing south as far as Buin and north as far as Buka to explore the surfs, sunken wrecks, caves and sink holes and just plain sailing on the weekend out as far as the borders with the Solomon Islands from sailing clubat Loloho and the Yacht Club in Kieta.

Today – A Slow but Sure Start

Like any recovery after any conflict anywhere, resurrecting tourism in Bougainville to compete in the country and in the Pacific region is going to take many years. How we start and where we start is going to determine how we perform and where we might end up. There is a tremendous lot we can learn from PNGTA.

For every promotion and advertorial to attract tourists to our shores we must put even more effort to provide the facilities and services that tourists take for granted when they travel to well travelled and well developed tourist destinations in the region.

There is a lot we can learn from Fiji but we do not have to be like Fiji. There is certainly a lot too we can learn from the former French and British condominium of New Hebrides, now Vanuatu, but we do not have to cause ourselves any pandemonium by rushing and expecting instant results. The neighbouring Solomon Islands might provide a good lead for us in terms of learning how they are coping. But certainly, having said all that, there is a lot we can learn about eco tourism and community tourism that can be embedded with social development as a direct benefit from tourism to local communities. Strengthening connections and opening good lines of communications with PNGTA, with the imprimatur from ABG and involvement with and by local operators will see many benefits.

Airfares to PNG and into Bougainville is a killer for tourists. So too is the price of accommodation. There is no doubt they are both enormous deterrents to travel and stay in and around PNG and in Bougainville. Almost all decent accommodation in Bougainville is more expensive than comparable accommodation anyway else. This is not something we can shrug our shoulders and casually pass over or ignore.

We are getting there. We will get there. It requires careful planning, training, meaningful government support and private enterprise, including private operators to be involved together. On top of it all perhaps, it requires an active Bougainville Tourism Association to be in place coordinating interests up front with a combination of foresight and passion for long term success in getting this green and clean industry on the right and firm footing in Bougainville.

It will take a long time before we start talking about millions in tourist dollars. It will not happen without putting any effort in planning and providing the facilities and services that tourists expect. We cannot go out selling Bougainville as a mecca for surfer’s, trekkers, divers, game fishers, beachcombers, eco-green visits, etc without providing adequate facilities and services on the ground. Our increasing attendance at world tourism expos and international tourism meetings should open our eyes to appreciate we have a lot to do on the ground.

 photo

 

Bougainville Political News : Bougainville Chief secretary Monovi Amani dumped

Monovi
“In his public office, a leaders first responsibility is to the people he or she represents or on whose behalf he is working. This responsibility must override self interest. A leaders first loyalty must be his office, not himself.
 
The higher the office held in the state, the more serious the office holders responsibility.”

Former Chief Ombudsman Ila Geno

Monovi Amani who only served ten months before being suspended for alleged misconduct in office was officially removed from office on Tuesday this week by the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee.

The appointments committee chaired by the President of the Autonomous Government Chief Dr. John Momis effected the termination based on findings by the board of inquiry that was established to investigate 6 separate misconduct allegations.
The inquiry was conducted by a single investigator, a former Chief Ombudsman Ila Geno, who uncovered unscrupulous deals the former Chief Secretary involved in.
The board of inquiry found that Mr. Amani took unapproved recreation leave; used public funds to purchase flights which he was not entitled to, including flights to an overseas destination and falsely claiming that some of the flights were for official purposes; received housing and vehicle allowance to which he was not entitled to; made an appointment to the Bougfainville Public Service in contravention of the legal requirements; used his position to secure and approve a substantial amount of money through the Bougainville Tenders Board without ensuring that such payment was proper and entered into a contract on behalf of the ABG for construction of his official residence with a company owned by a relative.
Former Chief Ombudsman Ila Geno after completing his investigation made a presentation to the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee this week and referred to the quote from the Constitutional Planning Committee when discussing leadership.
“In his public office, a leaders first responsibility is to the people he or she represents or on whose behalf he is working. This responsibility must override self interest. A leaders first loyalty must be his office, not himself.
The higher the office held in the state, the more serious the office holders responsibility.”
Monovi Amani had been suspended in November 2015 to allow for investigations into the allegations and Paul Kebori was appointed to act as Chief Secretary.
Kebori told NBC News this afternoon, the ABG has now gone ahead to engage a private recruitment company in Port Moresby to advertise the Chief Secretary and six departmental head positions for the ABG Administration.
Monovi Amani also tells NBC News he has accepted the decision by the single man board of inquiry.

Bougainville Tourism promoted at ITB the world’s largest travel show

Zhon Max - Copy

Update from Zhon Bosco Miriona from Bougainville Experience Tours  in Germany ( our stand on PNG Tourism at left)   Hi everyone at home and everywhere around the world..it has been great here at ITB promoting Bougainville. It was a great opportunity to attend the international show trade show.

Last Day

Here are the facts

  • 5 Continents
    > 185 Countries
    > 850 Qualified Top Buyers
    > 10,000 Exhibitors
    > 23,000 Convention Visitors
    > 50,000 Private Visitors
    > 115,000 Trade Visitors
    160,000 Square meters
    6,7 Bn. Euro Turnover

We have attracted many travel agents to market Bougainville in Europe who will sell Bougainville

Z4

“Tourism is everyone’s business and every one’s responsibility to make Bougainville a better place for the world to come and see and enjoy.”

Front cover-Sam

WEBSITE to book tours

Read all our Tourism Posts HERE like

Help needed for Bougainville tourism

Peterson Tseraha 0 Comment Sep 19, 2014

Tourism on Bougainville is another economic gold mine, a potential foreign currency earner, and income generator and the perfect tool to market Bougainville to the world.

A lot of village based people, especially those living in Bougainville rural areas, still need the light of reality to shine on them.

The major issue affecting tourism on Bougainville  is the crisis propaganda still stuck in people’s heads.

A local tourist operator on Bougainville, Bruno Laita, told the PNG Loop that propaganda regarding tourists coming into Bougainville still exists and it needs to stop.

“Tourists are foreigners coming in to enjoy the beauty of our home, Bougainville, but some are being discouraged by high prices, and these so called rumours that they are spies being sent by Australia America and PNG to spy on us, propaganda at its best, this has to stop,’’ Laita said.

“We have issues of people demanding money before we go see sights on their land and some say foreigners are not allowed.

“And the kind of money they demand is K10, 000.00 and upwards as if they own five star hotels.

“We also have another issue of people accusing tourists as being spies coming in to spy on us and those tourists are coming in to spy on our gold and copper deposits. These are all rubbish,’’ he said.

“Awareness is greatly needed in order for tourism to grow into a multi-million-kina industry on Bougainville, it has the potential to draw in millions but some people are still left in the dark about tourism.”

Laita said that the ABG needs to fund the Tourism Division so that it can deal with these issues in which awareness is highly recommended.

“This is a very high potential division in the Bougainville administration; tourism gives the potential for grassroots to participate in activities like being tour guides and dancing in singing groups to entertain tourists,’’ he  said.

“Tourism is everyone’s business and every one’s responsibility to make Bougainville a better place for the world to come and see and enjoy.”

Bougainville Tourism News: Some insights into tourism development in #Bougainville #PNG

pok pok

“ABG recognises the largely untapped potential of tourism and is aware Bougainville has the natural attraction to lure adventure and niche’ travellers to its shores. But a lot needs to be done . Success does not come overnight. There are no short cuts and quick fixes in success in anything.

ABG’s financial resources and capacity which has to be shared with other areas and services seeking more urgent attention has not been easy. Clearly, this creates a lot of room and space for private enterprise driven participation in an industry that can be both profitable and enjoyable with the right advice and approach and sense of ownership.

Simon Pentanu was appointed Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives in June 2015.

Picture above Bungalows under progress at Uruna Bay Retreat

He comes from Pokpok Island where he has a home and a private retreat through which community participation and paid employment of women and youth amongst its Island communities is being promoted. He advocates“small, rural and local is beautiful” across Bougainville.

Small

Bougainville’s natural  beauty and attractions, including its vibrant culture like the rest of the country, can be best showcased with serious and deliberate government involvement. For now this is lacking and can be explained largely as a result of lack of resources, capacity and focus and due to the fact that since it was established the tourism office and responsibility has been moved from pillar to post. The settling in, focus, funding and seriousness has been amiss.

With so much potential staring at us in the face tourism in Bougainville it is time our political leaders and bureaucrats alike take the attitude that if tourism has to contribute to ABG’s coffers, then it should be well-intended and for good gain. A number of private operators that have been self-starters to promote tourism are the ones carrying the baton up front. The amount of promotion they are doing both out of joy in promoting the beauty of the Island and as a business is a good story.

The Autonomous  Region today is, in many ways, at the stage in its attempts to promote tourism where PNG was about 30 years ago. Then, PNG started its budding attempts to promote the industry. It wasn’t something easy like a casual walk along the beach, a nearby bushwalk or a small hill climb. It was gradual with early forays into areas of unique attractions like for example driving into a village in Asaro to be greeted by its famous mystical Asaro mud men. There are other numerous examples such as the early cruises up the Sepik or the Baining Fire Dance and the Malagan mask phenomena in the New Guinea Islands. Along the way tourists started fitting their itineraries and visits to the annual calendar of many provincial Cultural Shows which have now become well renown and frequentedannual events. Bougainville can not only learn enormously from these early starts, including teething issues in the rest of PNG but can start to fit its own cultural events around some of the dates of these events.

The PNGTA is a vast repository of information and experience that Bougainville tourism authorities can tap into. The world has become small in an industry that has virtually encompassed countries  globally and where there are no boundaries or barriers to movement or travel, barring religious and fanatical wars. PNGTA is benefitting enormously from its membership, attendance and participation in regional and global tourism events. It has also learnt that it does not have to copy or compete for the same markets like others but has created its own brand of adventure, cultural and niche’ attractions.

photo BT

SEE Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotions Authority Website

Along the way PNGTA has learnt some hard, some sad but many useful lessons. The aches and pains have come with the successes and joys in seeing and industry grow into many niche’ attractions around its many tribal and ethnic cultures, languages, landscapes and seascapes. Bougainville stands to gain a lot from the road travelled and challenges met by PNGTA. Bougainville does not have to reinvent the wheel but we can improve the oiling and lubrication in our spokes and nuts and bolts to cruise forward with so much potential begging to be tapped.

MELB

SEE : Bougainville community support and vision puts Bougainville tourism on the world’s stage

Zhon Bosco Miriona, Managing Director of Bougainville Experience Tours for second time in the past few years was able to represent Bougainville on the world stage supported by Colin Cowell an International media and tourism consultant with over 25 years’ experience marketing Indigenous tourism

Bougainville

In March 2016 Zhon is representing Bougainville in Germany at ITB the worlds largest travel show VIEW ITB SITE Listing

Download the PNG ITB Promo press release

2016_03 PNG, unspoiled, wild paradise_ITB-Berlin-News-Preview-Editon

Top Photo Social media  : Online tour bookings site , Facebook ,@YesBougainville on Twitter and Bougainville Tourism INSTAGRAM are playing an important role in Bougainville Experience Tours  International Marketing

Second Photo Above : Developing partnerships with Wako Napusu Inbound operator Country Tour PNG and Asian operators above to bring in small groups for a 7 day Bougainville Tour Experience

PNGTA has also matured in keeping in check the pros and cons of tourist invasions, so to speak. It is a very sensible approach. The country does not necessarily want to promote tourism for arrivals en mass. This is a very important consideration in developing niche’ markets and keeping cultures genuinely intact. No one can ever completely preserve cultures in a test tube or a freezer but impact of outside influence and modernity can be managed with sensible long term policies and cooperation between government policy makers and independent state supported tourism bodies or corporations. In this regard, in terms of government support to PNGTA it has been a journey on bumpy roads, through humps, pot-holes and sometimes swaying bridges along the way. But the Association has been the richer and mature for the experience.

Bougainville can learn from all of the above. We can forge meaningful contacts, contracts and understanding for assistance in going forward in a planned and deliberate fashion with PNGTA.

It is heartening to see emerging self-start operators like Zhon Miriona Bosco from Bougainville Experience Tours and others in north and south Bougainville to establish links with PNGTA in brooding tourism in Bougainville. In time, there is no doubt other individual operators will emerge as Bougainville continues to open up to one of the cleanest and visible industries that can promote the Island.

ABG recognises the largely untapped potential of tourism and is aware Bougainville has the natural attraction to lure adventure and niche’ travellers to its shores. But a lot needs to be done over the years. Success does not come overnight. There are no short cuts and quick fixes in success in anything. ABG’s financial resources and capacity which has to be shared with other areas and services seeking more urgent attention has not been easy. Clearly, this creates a lot of room and space for private enterprise driven participation in an industry that can be both profitable and enjoyable with the right advice and approach and sense of ownership.

Clear, comprehensive, comprehendible mid to long-term policies is one way ABG can put tourism on a better footing. It is from this position that the Ministry, office and authority charged with responsibility to promote tourism in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville can develop deliberate and better long term view from the standing, stationary start is at now.

In the present Momis-Nisira Government the Minister for Economic Affairs Hon Fidelis Semoso MP has the will, the clout, the credentials and the leverage required to establish a meaningful and working contact with PNGTA. This would move the office from its dormant existence to at least some level headed planning view to where or how far Bougainville wants to take its tourism.

There are some aspects of office work that does not necessarily need huge funds but rather just thinking things through and mapping out. One such area concerns the risks and inhibitions to any opportunity to attracting and expanding tourism as an industry. First and foremost is the issue of law and order. This is a major concern in selling tourism in PNG but to its credit the PNGTA has spared no effort in putting better and localised perspective to this menace. Bougainville can certainly learn a thing or two from the arduous efforts PNGTA has made in this area. Landowner issues is another one when trekking and bird watching or just bushwalking is involved. Issues of benefits to a local community are matters that should attract attention to authorities. Advice and mentoring to willing starters in local areas is another area our officials in tourism office can help without much expenditure in resources or efforts.

The cost of travel to and within PNG is expensive. In more Bougainville it is even more expensive right across the board including airfares, local transport, accommodation, even food in lodges and motels. This should change over time and there is some evidence of this as the level of accommodation and variety of food in Buka and Arawa in more decent accommodation is improving.

Bougainville Office of Tourism Website

Developing an annual calendar around cultural events that are staged by communities for their own importance and purpose at their own time is something the office responsible for tourism in Buka can certainly work on. It is more reliable to plan this way because for communities these cultural events aren’t scheduled around tourist visits but have been a part of their life and cultural significance for years. On the part of tourist office staff this involves going out to the people to promote awareness over time. Instead of waiting for large funds the tourism office should go out to the people for which the cost shouldn’t be huge at all.

Some training and education for intending and existing tour operators and tour guides is a must so there is proper awareness on the do’s and don’ts of tourism. Again there is no need to reinvent the wheel. A working relationship can be established with PNGTA to help the tourism office in Bougainville. To this end there are also opportunities annually for the office of tourism and for private operators to attend tourist expositions hosted by PNGTA and by other Associations in the region.

It often begs the question, what does the office of tourism actually do in Bougainville? This is not a rhetorical question but a question that is being asked more and more. And rightly so. When you have good, attractive, usable and functional product to develop and promote and sell very well  why is it hard to promote and sell. Everyone boasts about how Bougainville is beautiful, how we might become a Mecca for tourists looking for authentic pristine beauty or how relatively peaceful it is for tourist to find once they get here. BUT who is doing the hard yakka that’s got to be done?

The Minister responsible for tourism can be best served by the tourism office by providing good briefs on where we are at, where we want to be in the next four years based on the remaining years of the current Government. And, in addition, how best the Government and private operators can best consult each other. The experience of PNGTA in this regard would be quite valuable. The current Minister’s audacious, no nonsense and result oriented approach would bode well with the benefit of good, regular advice from those that are charged with developing the industry. As already mentioned, establishing meaningful links with PNGTA is bound to pay good, tangible dividends.

Bougainville has always learnt the hard way from its shortcomings. The courage and conviction of the people to succeed at all is always there and has always moved everybody on and forward. Tourism has the potential as a reliable and clean income earner and cash generator . We can do this through joint effort between government and private enterprise and through humbling ourselves to ask others that have travelled this road to help and guide us, specifically PNGTA. PNGTA is already a very recognisable product, a global brand name in the tourism industry.

Bougainville can prove its worth best through doing the hard work led by those tasked and paid in the office of tourism. Any other joint effort will come if the officers and authorities start pegging and advancing their work inside and outside the office. It is not enough to just trumpet out the all too familiar metaphor we are so used to chanting and hearing that “we can do it”.

front

Simon Pentanu pictured above learning international tourism marketing from Colin Cowell ” selling ” to 30 international buyers at a travel Expo in Port Moresby 2014. From left Zhon , Colin ,Simon and James Tanis.

10506891_820520787982912_4427380495575104642_o

“Bougainville is a land of simple, untouched pleasures; from our turquoise seas to lush rain forests.Experience our unique Bougainville Island, nature, culture, history and friendly people “

 

 

 

 

Bougainville News : A tribute to the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma MP

SB

“The loss of a member of a family, especially the head of a family is a painful and devastating experience for any family, in any family anywhere. 

The loss of a leader among us and in our midst when there is still so much to be done is untimely.

The loss of good, honest and committed national leaders mandated by popular choice in democratic and free elections such as we have and value in this Region and in the country, is a tragic loss.

AS we mourn the passing of the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma and as the people of South Bougainville and the rest of Bougainville realise and acknowledge he will no longer be with us, it is a time too that we look back at his personal achievements and his marks and contributions in life.”

TRIBUTE BY THE SPEAKER SIMON PENTANU MHR

ON THE OCCASION OF A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO HONOUR AND PAY TRIBUTE TO THE LATE HON. STEVEN PIRIKA KAMMA MP

On Wednesday 03 March 2016 the casket containing the remains of the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma MP was laid before the House of Representatives at Kubu, Buka, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The casket was accompanied on two flights from Port Moresby to Buka by a parliamentary delegation led by the Speaker of the PNG National Parliament Hon Theodore Zurecnuoc. In the delegation were also United Resources Party stalwarts led by Member for Usino Bundi (Madang) Anthony Yagama MP. Stephen Kamma was a loyal member of the Party.

At the time of his passing Steven was Minister for State assisting the Prime Minister on constitutional matters. He was first elected as member for south Bougainville in 2008 and was serving his second term, 2012-2016, in the National Parliament

The Speaker Hon Simon Pentanu MHR led the tributes for and on behalf of the House of Representatives and members of the House. The President, Hon Chief Dr John Momis MHR also paid tribute on behalf of the People of Bougainville. The casket with the remains of the late Stephen Kamma was formally handed to ABG in a short speech on the floor of Parliament by The Speaker of the PNG National Parliament.

Following is a Tribute given by Speaker Simon Pentanu MHR in the House of Representatives.

The Hon the President, and Hon Members of the House of Representatives.

The Speaker of the PNG National Parliament Hon Theodore Zurenuoc MP

Member for Usino-Bundi Mr Anthony Yagama MP

Member for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Mr Joe Lera MP

Member for North Bougainville, Mr Louta Ato MP

The family and relatives of the late Hon Steven Piriki Kamma MP

People of Bougainville.

The loss of a member of a family, especially the head of a family is a painful and devastating experience for any family, in any family anywhere.

The loss of a leader among us and in our midst when there is still so much to be done is untimely.

The loss of good, honest and committed national leaders mandated by popular choice in democratic and free elections such as we have and value in this Region and in the country, is a tragic loss.

Honourable Members,

At this juncture, when Bougainville is still faced with many challenges , quite often precarious and trying moments of maturity in its leadership, politics and direction;

At this time when unity and our unification is the clear and loud clarion call from the ABG leadership to all Members of this House, to our four Bougainville MPs in the National Parliament and to the People of Bougainville;

At a time when the people across all communities are seeking more awareness and efforts of all their  elected leaders as the clock ticks down to Referendum;

At a time like this when we lose leaders  in the prime of their political and other public life;

AT ALL THESE TIMES AND MORE, I dare say that death is a cheat on Bougainville.

Honourable Members,

Your life is a priceless gift to you. You cannot re-invent it. You cannot recreate it. You cannot copy it. You cannot clone yourself. Your Life is a gift from God. From Nature. From the Universe. From Mumira. From Tantanu. From Sunahan. Kumponing. All you have do is be mindful and look after it, take care of it. We must all spend some down time on our Health and Wellbeing. This is a message we must all store and carry in our hearts and minds as leaders all the time. It is your duty of care to do so. We owe this to the people who elected us to represent them as we go about our responsibilities to rebuild Bougainville. The state of any nation, any country is judged not only by its wealth and avarice but by the health of its citizens, especially its leaders.

AS we mourn the passing of the late Hon Steven Pirika Kamma and as the people of South Bougainville and the rest of Bougainville realise and acknowledge he will no longer be with us, it is a time too that we look back at his personal achievements and his marks and contributions in life.

This is also an occasion we pay tribute to the late Member’s life and recognise his successes, contributions and the legacy he leaves behind.

Stephen Pirika Kamma had a lot of heart and spent a lot of effort to go ahead in business. He had a lot of heart and worked hard to get into national politics. He did very well on both scores.

Steven also had a lot of heart and faith in himself that it was his responsibility to work hard for his family so they could get ahead in life. He also did very well on this score.

The late Stephen Kamma faced up to and moved on from the Bougainville crisis to gather himself in Rabaul, East New Britain province. A devastating natural disaster, the volcanic eruptions in Rabaul in September 1994 was another blow to his budding business. But instead of dwelling on the misfortunes,  this gave him more determination to lead his family from the front, and not complain and make excuses to fold up. Through all of this and at all times Stephen maintained his family intact.

With an eye for opportunities and contempt for failure after the hard years at home and a natural disaster in Rabaul the late Stephen Kamma headquartered his signature business in pest control in Port Moresby.

I believe from sharing times and moments together as a good friend that it was his control at the helm and determination move on and his personal trials and tribulations in the face of adverse and un-mitigating disasters that made him thinking about public life in politics.

The late Steven’s idea of politics was driven not necessarily by the notion of representation of people per se but rather by his idea that a representative is chosen, among other things,  to bring about practical, visible and tangible results competing in an arena where leaders are vying  for resources and where a leader’s worth and ability is judged often by what developmental changes and improvements he or she can effect to the lives and well-being of the people.

This country is a very rural society where the majority of our people still live in villages. The best evidence of a meaningful link by an elected leader in many ways is a residence among one’s community in the village. The late Mr Kama had a home in his village in his community where he spent considerable time, relatively speaking, with his people.

His record of contacts, links, discussions and offers of advice to the President, some Ministers and members of this House, especially from south Bougainville  is a record he can be justifiably proud of as a national MP. His presence and visits and projects is what did the talking for him.

On the ground in Bougainville as well as in Port Moresby from to time his direct approach to our President on many occasions when matters of interest to Bougainville needed to be explained or when differences and confusion between Kubu and Waigani needed moderating the Hon Member often appeared when he would make  the judgment that his help and arbitration was called for to maintain dialogue between the National Government that he was an integral part of and ABG leadership. His quiet interventions did not always become news stories.

The late Hon Member always keenly followed the ABG elections and the formation of Governments after elections on the ground in the Region. To this end he maintained contact with members from his region and electorate in the south.

Hon Members,

This House recognises and places on record its grateful appreciation of the service and duty of the late Honourable Member as one of the 4 elected Members in the National Parliament. Under the provisions of the Bougainville Constitution our 4 Bougainville MPs in the National Parliament are also Members of this House.

Stephen Kamma, you are laid on the floor of this House as a member of the House. It is not only right but also fitting that this is the case because while our three national MPs each represent the three regions and the regional members represents the whole island, collectively you all represent the People of Bougainville.

The honourable member passed away in office as a Minister of State. Despite issues with his Health the Steven Kamma never winced or blinked his eyes about the duties and responsibilities of a Minister. He stayed on the crease batting to the last innings without getting out. There is no doubt he wanted to see his second term in Parliament right through to the end. Unfortunately this was not to be. While some people may criticise this, the late Minister always kept in touch and abreast and still took decisions right to the end. He valued and knew that two voices for Bougainville in Cabinet was better than one.  He was  loyal to the Government he was a part of. He was a loyal member of his Party.

The Hon late Stephen Kamma is the first Bougainvillean since elections started in PNG in 1964 and since Independence in 1975 to die in office as a serving member and Minister of State.

We have lost a self-made businessman, a proud Siwai entrepreneur  like many other Siwais that are the heart-throb of business and commerce in many areas in Bougainville. He was a kind hearted philanthropist to those that he helped and that knew him well personally.

He found assurance and confidence with his peers in Parliament regardless of the changing and tumultuous times PNG is going through . Bougainville has lost a leader, a proud carrier of our mantle at the national political level. Hon Stephen Kama is a big loss to Bougainville at a time we can least afford to lose our elected leaders.

This House extends its deepest sympathy and condolence to the family of the late Steven Kama, Anna and her children Michael and Pamela and their adopted children at this difficult time in their bereavement. You have a lost a loving husband and father.

May God bless his soul as he rests in His Kingdom. May he rest in Eternal Peace

To conclude, may I on behalf Members assembled here this morning and the People of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to you, the Hon Speaker of the PNG National Parliament and your delegation for accompanying the remains of the late Honourable Stephen Kamma and gracing us with your presence on this occasion. Thank you for handing him back to Bougainville, especially to his people in south Bougainville through  this House.