Tourism News: Bougainville and PNG continues to attract International cruise ships boosting tourism, economic and cultural opportunities

photo (5)

Bougainville continues to attract International cruise ships boosting tourism, economic and cultural opportunities throughout island according to Bougainville tourism operator Zhon Bosco Miriona .

“One of the potential benefits of cruising is that it brings visitors to remote areas that cannot otherwise to reached, providing a boost to village economies through the provision of shore excursions, cultural experiences and handicrafts”

As the PNGTIA points out cruising allows a new source of economic income and development which can provide associated benefits in areas such as health, employment and education,”

Zhon Bosco Miriona Managing Director (pictured below left recently promoting to international market): Bougainville Experience Tours and regional member for the PNG Tourism Industry Association , manages cruise ship tours from Kieta and Arawa

10616228_10203733877739576_637445258908330075_n

Picture at top: Passengers of a cruise ship arriving at the Kuri Resort :130 visited with 24 of them going diving.

 

Pi

UPDATE from Lawrence Belleh ABG Tourism CEO : In March 2015 a cruise ship will visit the Queen Karoola Harbour  Bougainville .This is the first trip to the old Kesa Plantation that is being considered to be turned into a tourism hub on the Northern tip of Buka Island. The hub would benefit  Haku, Halia, Hagogohe, Peit and Tons constituencies and their people. There will be also a  visit to Pororan Island to experience the sand, beach, cultural displays (photo above)  and the opportunity buy Bougainville souvenirs.

 Media coverage

Shipping companies are taking an increasing interest in PNG, with passenger arrivals surging and even big ships now heading to PNG’s and Bougainville shores, Brian Johnston reports.

A P&O cruise liner arrives in Milne Bay. Credit: David Conn

The cruise news looks good. According to a report by the Pacific Islands Forum in mid-2013, the cruise industry has grown 125 per cent since 2005 and 143 new ships have been launched.

Particularly strong growth has been recorded in the Asian and Australian markets; a record 834,000 Australians took a cruise holiday in 2013. That puts Papua New Guinea in a geographically advantageous position.

What’s more, there’s plenty of room for expansion: currently only one in a hundred international cruisers (about 200,000 passengers) visit any Pacific island. In PNG, only five per cent of holiday arrivals are cruise passengers.

‘Cruise tourism in Papua New Guinea is facing a bright future with increased international interest in cruising and increasing willingness from cruise shipping companies to include Papua New Guinea on Pacific itineraries,’ concluded a recent report from the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA).

 

boat Of Arawa

The World ( pictured above) arriving last June at Pokpok Island ( pictured above from Simon Pentanu ) , Central Bougainville.

Significant markets

PNG 9000x2

PNG 9000xThe US, New Zealand, Japan and the UK are significant markets, but half of all cruise visitors to PNG are Australians. That sector is also significant because many cruises are one way, with Australian visitors often extending with land-based holidays.

The PNG Government is taking notice. In 2010 it launched its first comprehensive cruise strategy which looked to improving port facilities and opportunities for shore excursions, waiving visa fees for cruise passengers, and reducing pilot fees by half. With expedition cruising already established, the aim was to entice luxury mid-size ships and even big operators.

‘Cruise tourism in Papua New Guinea is facing a bright future with increased international interest.’

In October 2014, the TPA launched a trade website to educate and inform travel agents. It has also emphasised PNG as a cruise destination in international trade shows and tourism events in Europe, the US and Australia.

While new jetties have been built in Kitava and Kaibola, among others, Milne Bay became the focus of efforts, since Alotau already had a good port and is well positioned on potential cruise routes from Australia. Wharfs were extended and new public facilities added.

In 2013, the arrival of P&O Cruises’ 2050-passenger Pacific Dawn in Milne Bay showed the strategy delivering results.

Pacific Dawn’s entry into the region allowed a new wave of low-cost travellers to see the beauty and thriving culture of PNG at a much lower price point than travel to PNG previously allowed,’ says Stuart Thompson, TPA’s Australia and New Zealand representative.

‘It’s a game changer. Mass cruising provides greater consumer awareness, growth in demand and increased repeat visitation. As we’ve witnessed with Vanuatu, cruising has the potential to attract a percentage of past passengers back to the destination for an extended holiday.’

Growing presence

PNG 9303x2

Currently P&O Cruises visits five PNG ports and will add Kavieng and Madang early this year. It has already announced a significant increase in its cruise presence, with its 2015-16 program including its first back-to-back PNG cruises from Cairns, and its first dedicated PNG cruises from Brisbane and Sydney.

‘The addition of two more ships has given us the flexibility to increase our PNG itineraries and open up new destinations. P&O’s return to PNG was possible because of the strong support of the national government and local authorities, particularly in relation to the provision of infrastructure to accommodate cruise ship visits,’ explains P&O Cruises’ CEO Ann Sherry.

In 2014, Pacific Dawn wasn’t alone in visiting PNG waters. Other visits were made by Japan’s NYK Cruises, Holland-America Line’s Amsterdam, the British ships Black Watch and Caledonian Sky, French Polynesia-based Paul Gauguin, ultra-luxe residential cruise ship The World and three ships from both Hapag-Lloyd and Silversea. Princess Cruises now features PNG across 14 different cruises; it has also added PNG to its 2016 world cruise.

‘Mass cruising provides greater consumer awareness, growth in demand and increased repeat visitation.’

Small-size expedition ships continue to have a strong presence, among them Coral Princess Cruises’ Oceanic Discoverer and North Star Cruises’ True North, which carries a helicopter and Zodiac landing boats for access to remote areas. One of its three itineraries focuses on diving the remote Louisiade Archipelago. Aurora Expeditions has a 12-night cruise from Cairns that includes the Trobriand Islands and Tufi fjords.

Cruising benefits

One of the potential benefits of cruising is that it brings visitors to remote areas that cannot otherwise to reached, providing a boost to village economies through the provision of shore excursions, cultural experiences and handicrafts.

The TPA says 90 per cent of revenue from coastal tourism operators comes from cruising in some destinations. “Cruising allows a new source of economic income and development which can provide associated benefits in areas such as health, employment and education,” says Stuart Thompson.

With the big surge in PNG cruising barely two years old, that remains to be seen, but certainly these are exciting times for cruise tourism in PNG and Bougainville. Watch this space.

For More Information on Bougainville Tourism

Small

 

Bougainville News: Air Niugini fulfils its cultural obligation to Kieta landowners

Air Niugini

Papua New Guinea flag carrier Air Niugini has fulfilled its cultural obligation with landowners from Kieta, Bougainville last weekend when it exchanged two pigs with store and garden foods as a token of appreciation to the landowners for allowing the airline to have one of its aircraft christened –Kieta.

photo (5)

The cultural ceremony took place at Toborol village in Kieta and was attended by representatives from six major landowner groups- Barapang, Kurabang, Batuang, Baiang, Mantaa and Bakoringku whose land on which Aropa airport was built.
On behalf of Air Niugini, the airline’s General Manager- Customers and Markets, Dominic Kaumu attended the ceremony and presented the pigs and food items to the landowners.
Mr Kaumu said traditional obligations are an important part of our society and Air Niugini as the national airline was grateful to be able to fulfill its commitment with the landowners.
“ Air Niugini is supporting the government’s initiative to bring back the airline service to this part of Bougainville after 25 years and we are grateful for the fact that you have allowed us not only to resume services but also name one of our aircraft after your airport, Kieta.” Mr Kaumu said.
He added that such a ceremony further strengthens the partnership and co-operation between Air Niugini and the local communities to ensure that the airline services which have just resumed must continue.
“ As you all know, we have just resumed airline services here and we need support from everyone, landowners, communities and the government here to ensure these services continue for the benefit of our people in South and Central Bougainville” Kaumu said.
A Spokesperson representing the six landowner groups, Gabriel Sala acknowledged Air Niugini for fulfilling its traditional obligation and assured the airline of the landowners’ support.
“ Thank you Air Niugini for bringing back services to our people. We are grateful that you have fulfilled your traditional obligations. We assure you that you have our support and we can only hope for more business opportunities to open up in this part of Bougainville.” Sala said
Similar sentiments were echoed by Chief of Pateking clan-Elijah Tavau and Woman leader, Bernadine Naviung.
Mrs Naviung whilst assuring the airline of their support, she also appealed for participation and employment of landowners especially women and youths for spin off activities at the airport area.
Landowner representatives from the six major landowners received the two pigs and other foods which they later distributed to their sub-clans.
Air Niugini’s Q400 aircraft, Papa Xray was christened Kieta following its maiden flight to Kieta, carrying Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill and his delegation for Aropa airport opening on 12th December last year.
10850244_867089963330890_6092498693191925807_n
Air Niugini resumed services to Aropa airport after 25 years. The airline operates three weekly flights to Kieta every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The direct Port Moresby/Kieta flight is on Tuesday whilst the Thursday flight goes via Rabaul. The flight on Saturday goes from Port Moresby to Rabaul then Kieta, Rabaul and back to Port Moresby.
Meanwhile, Air Niugini services to Buka are continuing with daily flights, except Sunday.

New Bougainville coastal vessel MV Rapoise Chief to arrive soon

Rapoise Chief in Dry Dock

The work done on MV Rapoise Chief by far exceeds my expectations and this I believe will provide the best shipping service for our maritime needs in the west coast and to those in the atolls .A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work into this project, the ABG and Bougainville Executive Council, the Bougainville Administration and of course the Chebu Shipping Company who have and are still working tirelessly to ensure the vessel comes home soon,”

President Momis said:  Story Anthony Kaybing

The Autonomous Region of Bougainville’s journey into the shipping industry has achieved another milestone with the soon to arrive vessel, MV Rapoise Chief.

The vessel as it has been christened will service the West Coast of mainland Bougainville as well as the atolls that are in desperate need of this service. MV Rapoise Chief will carry a crew of 6 and 53 passengers and can carry approximately 15 metric tonnes of cargo.

Though the vessel is second hand it has undergone a complete refitting with new two new engines, navigational equipment and a complete overhaul of the hull at the Marala Vitas Central Terminal & Shipyards Corporation in Manila, Philippines.The vessel is currently undergoing sea trials before it can set sail for Bougainville waters and the trials have shown that the vessel can reach speeds of up to 12 knots.

Not to be outdone by Bougainville’s flag carrier, the MV Chebu, MV Rapoise Chief also offers aluminum seats and a fully functioning air-conditioned cabin area for the passengers to travel in comfort and style. The vessel also features a sick bay and separate male and female toilets and showers for the passengers and crew.

Due to the stringent measures put in place by the PNG National Maritime Service Authority the vessel will require minor tweaks to its operations and functions to meet the safety requirements enforced by the NMSA. The Autonomous Bougainville Government President, Chief Dr. John Momis said he was impressed with the work being done on the vessel so far.

President Momis and Lady Elizabeth inspecting sitting area of MV Rapoise Chief

“The work done on MV Rapoise Chief by far exceeds my expectations and this I believe will provide the best shipping service for our maritime needs in the west coast and to those in the atolls,” President Momis said.

“A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work into this project, the ABG and Bougainville Executive Council, the Bougainville Administration and of course the Chebu Shipping Company who have and are still working tirelessly to ensure the vessel comes home soon,” he added.

The President has assured Bougainvilleans that once the vessel has passed the NMSA requirements it will set sail for Bougainville which maybe in the next month or so.

 

 

 

Bougainville Development News: Why does Bougainville constantly have “systems down” and blackouts ?

Bank

“The public using the services like the bank, air services providers etc established recently in Arawa are complaining that it is time that these essential services must get into full swing.

We are tired of hearing “system down, system down” every time we go to such offices like the bank; Air Niugini office plus others like MVIL etc stated many of the public.

Ishmael Palipal Intro article

While most of the government services have been restored in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, one of the state-owned entities in charge of electricity power supply have been bombarded with critics for failing to address constant blackouts.

By Fabian Hakalits – EM TV (second article below) VIEW TV REPORT

People using these services urged the service providers to step up their offices in Arawa so that they can serve the purpose for which  they are set up.

People are becoming frustrated about how these services are being provided as most people who travel long distances are told to go to Buka or else told to come back tomorrow, and so on but when they come again they will be told to come some time later.

“It’s really frustrating,” said one father from the coast line of Bana District in South Bougainville.

“We have to spend so much money to and from  our places,” said one mother from Buin.

She stated that travelling from Buin to Arawa costs about K60 both ways and if sent to Buka when services in Arawa are not serviced will cost another K100 and if travelling with family is very costly. She said this while at the Airlines PNG agent office in Arawa when trying to check the air lines services schedule for Aropa.

Bombadier Q400 named after Kieta

Speaking to Ben Madaku at the office of Bougainville Tours who are the agents of Airlines PNG, she questioned why are the air services providers not putting out their schedule for Aropa but Buka only.

She stated that by this time, 3 airlines supposed to start service at the newly opened Aropa Airport and should be in full service because these are the peak times when our children (students) will be travelling out.

Ben Madaku told this reporter that other people also expressed the same frustrations about these essential services in Arawa.

“Most of them said that they want to farewell their children at the Aropa Airport because for long they have been travelling to Buka which is very costly and also a proper farewell of their children is not made before leaving their homes for some of them leave their homes early in the morning  but since now the airport is opened, they want the airlines to start their services early so that they can farewell their children  as they depart for schooling out of the region,” Madaku told this reporter.

Mr Madaku said that many people are commenting that offices are here but services are not felt, even BSP bank is not fully servicing the people as it mostly goes ‘system down’ or ‘cash out’.

“The worst thing that our clients,” said Madaku “are expressing is the air service. They really want other airlines to start their schedule by next week and so on; also they are frustrated about the Air Niugini office in Arawa which is always ‘system down’ or ‘blackout’ because of PNG power.

“People are saying that these essential services must start servicing the people now especially the Aropa Airport which many said it was a relief to their long bumpy ride to Buka when it was re-opened.”

The people are asking for these air service providers to put out their schedules for Aropa so that they can farewell their children right at their home atra, said Mr Madaku.

Power

by Fabian Hakalits – EM TV,

While most of the government services have been restored in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, one of the state-owned entities in charge of electricity power supply have been bombarded with critics for failing to address constant blackouts.

While power-users have appreciated the restoration of electricity supply by PNG Power Limited, on the other hand, it is criticised for the constant power blackouts in Arawa, Central Bougainville that has irked power users.

Kieta district office executive manager Lucy Travertz, said with the growth of business and economic activities, this is disgraceful for a state-owned entity.

Daily operations have been affected by this occurrence from administration, business houses, homes and health facilities.

Business houses are worried about the freezer goods accommodated in shops and guest houses that are unhealthy for consumers.

PNG Power Limited management has been called on to at least explain the reasons for the outages rather than keeping its power users in the dark.

Meanwhile locals have also raised concerns on the lack of regular inspections despite connection fees being paid for. comments from PNG Power management was unsuccessful.

Bougainville Development NEWS: Opening Aropa airport was Xmas gift for Bougainville’s future

Al

“It was emotional, it was exciting, thought drenching, brain leavening, quite historical in many respects. After almost 24 years in disuse, a revamped and upgraded Aropa airport was re-opened last Friday 12 December 2014. With its new terminal buildings it is now ready for business. As usual it was marked by celebrations of sorts – political speeches, hand clapping, chanting, lamenting, shouting, smiles and laughter and ecstatic joy all around.

If the thrill and joy of opening Aropa at this time is a Christmas gift, the naming of the aircraft is a spiritual lift for Kieta township and for Bougainville. It’s great, it is the stuff that marks and makes history that is worth remembering.”

9f780-6a00d83454f2ec69e201b7c6edf905970b-250wi

From Simon Pentanu who was on the first flight into the upgraded airport

I am thankful for the opportunity get on the inaugural flight to be among wiser and much stronger and more power-wielding politicians and bureaucrats on the historic flight. There was no way I was going to miss this for the world. I wanted to return home and land on the same turf where I took the second last flight out and away to Port Moresby 24 years ago. And going back a little earlier in history the old Aropa airstrip is also where I took my first flight on a TAA DC-3 in 1965 to begin high school on Buka Island. I cannot forget, the old work horse was the fastest thrill I ever had then with a landing on the way at the Wakunai grass strip before arriving on Buka Island.

The inaugural flight F400 PX4354 flew direct Port Moresby – Aropa. We arrived on the west coast and made our way over the Crown Prince Range to the other side above Loloho and took a slow flight path southwards along the coast above Arawa, Kieta, over Pokpok Island and then made the landing approach from the Koromira end in south touching down at 10.39am on the newly paved new-look Aropa Aerodrome.

The opening of Aropa means Bougainville is probably the only Province/Region with two aerodromes, one in Buka and now in Kieta (Aropa). As part of the reopening and renewing ceremony the F400 Dash was named Kieta. This once thriving township name now becomes a very recognizable part of the aircraft’s livery on one of Air Niugini’s domestic fleet. If the thrill and joy of opening Aropa at this time is a Christmas gift, the naming of the aircraft is a spiritual lift for Kieta township and for Bougainville. It’s great, it is the stuff that marks and makes history that is worth remembering.

Kieta

The name is conspicuously poised providing a respectful distance between the Prime Minister and the President who both unveiled and named the aircraft.

 ???????????????????????????????

Part of the excited but orderly crowd that welcomed the inaugural flight and witnessed the naming of the aircraft after their township.

If the naming required baptismal or christening rites as part of the ceremony, The President, a former priest adequately fulfilled both the purpose and occasion for this. If the naming and ceremony needed any political validation, the Prime of PNG and who is also the Prime Minister of Bougainville fittingly occasioned this purpose.

As you might imagine I am – and I would think many Bougainvilleans would be too –  still over the moon that a long last Aropa is open for business. Landing at Aropa means it will take me less than an hour to get to the village as opposed to three and a half to 4 hours drive from Buka to Kieta. I can prepare lunch in Port Moresby and eat it in my house on Pokpok Island whilst it is still warm. Or, I can bring the famed local dish tamatama within a few hours of being prepared in the village on the flight back to Port Moresby to share with family and friends in the city while the pudding is still warm.

So there, another Day in the life, trials and tribulations of a Paradise that lost its head, its charm and its way as a promising place with so much to offer. But never mind. The past is gone, the future is yet to come. The moment to live and savour is now. It is time to make the most of it.

Commercial flights will begin in the coming days or weeks. May be Air Niugini can make the two routes to Aropa and Buka quite profitable in the country if it offers no-frills travel and targets volume  and bums on seats at affordable fares that’ll allow more people to travel.

Flying over this enchanted Island is truly a sight to behold. Landing back at Aropa after 24 years was redeeming. Seeing the multitudes that converged to celebrate and adorn the opening was reassuring.

WE  praise God.

 

 

 

Bougainville Development News : Aropa airport opens after 24 years

photo2

By Aloysius Laukai

The famous REBOINE, AROPA Airport in Central Bougainville officially opened for Business today by Prime Minister, PETER O’NEIL and ABG President, Chief DR. JOHN MOMIS amidst capacity crowd of what was estimated to be more than TEN THOUSAND people from South, Central and North Bougainville.

photo 4image

Photo above Ishmael

The airport was closed at the height of the crisis in 1990 and remained closed although the Peace Monitoring Group and several light aircrafts continued to land especially for Bank runs to Central Bougainville.

image

The opening was added extra flavour when three Airline Companies also flew in on the re-opening day.

10850244_867089963330890_6092498693191925807_n

The Once International Airport had the Airline PNG landing first then the Air Niugini’s Q 400 which was officially named KIETA to commemorate this special service into mainland Bougainville.

photo (5)

A plaque displaying this name KIETA was also unveiled by the Prime Minister PETER O’NEIL and ABG President DR. JOHN MOMIS this afternoon.

photo

The Q400 carried the Prime Minister’s Official party whilst the Airline PNG carried Aropa Airport landowners who went to Port Moresby to complete the MOU on the future of the airport with the National Airport Corporation.

The other plane that landed today was the TRAVELAIR or the famous MANGI LO PLES which had the owner, MR. EREMAS WATOTO and several media team on it.

The opening ceremony was incident free although security was tight to make sure the opening went without any disturbance.

photo6

Dancers came from all over Bougainville

10665384_308494076013510_8534837465543169082_n

Speakers at the ceremony included the Minister for Communications, JIMMY MIRINGTORO, ABG President Chief DR. JOHN MOMIS and the Prime Minister PETER O’NEIL.

Comments from Peter O’Neil as reported by Brian Semoso

The PMs reply to President Momis struck the right cords with the masses.

Mi no kam toktok politics. Mi no kam toktok independence, mi no kam toktok lo referendum. Mi kam lo opim airport blo yupla. Mi kam lo givim yupla wanem samting yupla bin laikim long taim yet. Na mi kam tu lo lukim wanem samting gen yupla laikim ba mi wokim. Hausik ba mi wokim, Rot ba mi wokim, schools ba mi wokim. Within the next two years , rot stat lo Kokopau na kamap long Arawa ba mi sealim blo yupla too..ba mi kambek gen planti taim bai yupla les lo lukim pes blo me lo Bougainville…”

 

photo 8

Updated Reports 14 December

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and ABG President John Momis officially opened the K10 million Aropa airport just after 1pm today.

The opening was witnessed by a high-powered delegation from Waigani of State Ministers, heads of State-owed Enterprises (SOEs) and Bougainville leaders in Port Moresby.

The ribbon was cut by the two leaders to mark the official unveiling of the Kieta aerodrome plaque.

In what was a historic yet significant event for Bougainvilleans badly affected by the 10-year Bouganiville Crisis which started in 1989, it was an atmosphere of mixed feelings for locals.

Locals were excited with this opportunity and joined the delegation to set foot on the tarmac of the new airport.

Soon after the opening, National Airport Corporation (NAC) officials had to remove excited locals from the tarmac, most just wanting to have a closer look at the three planes from Air Niugini, Mangi Lo Ples and Airlines PNG that took part in the inaugural flight to Aropa.
The Aropa airport for the moment can only take aircrafts the size of Dash 8 and Q400 or smaller.

 

Promoting the education revolution on Bougainville for 2015

Can you spare a few kina or dollars DONATE HERE NOW

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG

 

Bougainville Investment Opportunities : Investment development must provide for local aspirations and interests

photo (6)

“Cocoa grown in Bougainville is know to be of very high quality and there is local knowledge gained from years of growing but little capital to invest for processing the raw materials which are generally shipped overseas.”

Investment Opportunities

The Bougainville Responsible Investment Framework is a new approach to economic development that provides for the values and aspirations of the people of Bougainville whilst protecting the interests of future investors. The framework addresses the concerns of the past, strengthens existing processes, and was developed by Bougainvilleans for Bougainville. Through the consultation period it was clear that:

  • Bougainvilleans want investment but they want to be actively involved;
  • They want good partners to work with and learn from;
  • They want those partners interests provided for and looked after; and
  • They want investment development to provide for local aspirations and interests.

Below are some examples of investment areas.  This is not an exhaustive list but rather a demonstration of existing sectors in Bougainville that would benefit from investment and development.

bougainville-map_png

About the Bureau and Contact  Click here for website

The Bougainville Inward Investment Bureau (BIIB) is a statutory body established by the Bougainville Inward Investment Act to screen, processes, assess, and make decisions or recommendations on investment proposals coming into Bougainville based on the principles of Responsible Investment.

Functions of the Bureau include:

  • Providing advice on the ABG’s policy and procedures;
  • Dealing with enquiries by investors;
  • Processing applications by inward investors;
  • Assessing investment applications;
  • Making recommendations to the Board about the applications;
  • Supporting the Board when it makes recommendations to the BEC;
  • Providing advice via the Board to the Minister of Commerce and the BEC about the ABG’s investment policies and processes;
  • Maintaining close working linkages with other ABG Divisions;
  • Maintaining a close working linkage with the Investment Promotion Authority;
  • Monitoring and evaluating investors operating in Bougainville;
  • Promoting Bougainville as an investment destination; and
  • Community awareness.

Tourism

Bougainville is known for adventurous, off the beaten track travel. It is also extraordinarily beautiful, as shown in the movie Mr Pip which was recently filmed there. Bougainville has rich biodiversity and traditional cultures dating back more than 30,000 years. The region also has a fascinating recent history involving World War II and the Bougainville Crisis.  Bougainville is a unique travel destination, please look at the new Bougainville Tourism website for more information.

photo (5)

Cruise ships are now visiting Bougainville

Travellers worldwide are looking away from package holidays and choosing instead to explore previously untouched regions. Bougainville is safe and the tourist industry is expected to grow. There are local providers of tourism activities such as trekking, nature walks and village visits, although tourist infrastructure is minimal. Both would benefit from investment along with new investment opportunities such as big game fishing, diving ventures and history tours.

Local Tourism Operator

Fisheries

Bougainville has a clean and bounteous aquatic environment. Fishing within three nautical miles of shore is reserved for local villages, although there could be development opportunities through local partnerships. Tuna are plentiful although fishing rights are regulated by the National Fishing Authority, PNG. Bougainville does not have commercial fishing fleets nor any onshore processing of fish caught in Bougainville waters. Opportunities exist in improving port and wharf infrastructure, fishing ventures, and onshore processing.

Bougainville has invested in commercially growing seaweed. The seaweed being grown in is Eucheuma cottonii, common name for Kappaphycus alvarezii, a carrageenan producing seaweed. Carragennan is an ingredient in many foods and gel-like products, and even has applications in biochemistry. It is used mostly as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier, as well as a fresh, whole food source.

Mining

Mining was once the backbone of the economy. The Panguna mine in Central Bougainville used to be the largest open pit copper mine in the Southern Hemisphere. A moratorium has been in place for mining since the Bougainville Crisis but there are positive moves in this sector with negotiations taking place to re-open the mine and the ABG is developing its own Mining Act. There are other mining opportunities within Bougainville; limestone was previously mined and exported pre-Crisis and the market still exists and artisanal alluvial gold mining is a significant local industry.

Agriculture

This sector of the economy is dominated by two export markets – cocoa beans and copra (the dried kernel of a coconut from which coconut oil is made) – although most crops will grow in Bougainville. Coconuts and cocoa are grown extensively in small scale, locally owned plantations. Large plantations were very productive pre-crisis but these are mostly abandoned and run-down now. Opportunity exists to revive the large Plantations. Cocoa grown in Bougainville is know to be of very high quality and there is local knowledge gained from years of growing but little capital to invest for processing the raw materials which are generally shipped overseas. There are many potential opportunities to add value to coconut and develop products such as virgin coconut oil, coconut sugar and biofuel.

Livestock Development

There are numerous opportunities to start or grow existing food production in Bougainville. The Division of Primary Industries has identified cattle, pig, poultry, ducks, on-land fish farming, goats and rabbits as having potential for protein production. The main sources of protein in Bougainville, however, are fish and chicken. Most of Bougainville’s chicken, eggs and baby chicks for future production are imported. There are opportunities here to meet local demand with locally produced chicken and eggs.

Manufacturing

Currently, there is no medium to large scale manufacturing taking place in Bougainville. There is small scale manufacturing of handicraft and furniture, as well as coconut oil. Larger scale production of coconut oil is on the horizon with a production plant near completion, and there is a near complete biodiesel plant in Arawa. As of January 2014 the first of 10 new warehouses is opening in Toniva, near Kieta.  Toniva Industrial, Chinese owned, is building the warehouses to then lease out for manufacturing and industrial use.  Opportunities will increase in this sector as infrastructure and power generation continue to improve. There are two hydro power generation facilities being built on Bougainville Island.

Transport, Infrastructure and Technology

Bougainville is still rebuilding from the Crisis, there are significant opportunities to assist with infrastructure development and introduction of technology to make life easier here. Of particular relevance are affordable permanent homes, roading, air and sea ports, and power generation.

Bougainville Development Good News: KIETA/AROPA airport set to open

10731152_938267942869667_7985200914217741725_n

AROPA AIRPORT SET TO OPEN ON DECEMBER 12 2014.

Update: With first commercial flights due on December 26

The Phase 1 of the Aropa Airport redevelopment project is nearing its completion as final touches are being put on the terminal , the runway and also general clearing of the airport surroundings.

Map 2

The Runway has been sealed all the way from the Southern end of the airport to the Northern end. The Contractor (Dekenai) was still doing some rolling this week near end of the runway. Sweeping of the loose aggregates will be completed by this week.

The Runway markings are yet to be done and this will be done after sealing of both taxiway and tarmac area. The runway edges have been cleaned up so well is giving clearly visibility from both sides of the airport.

The old tarmac has been swept and ready to be sealed. Until the sealing is done, markings will wait until completion of sealing and associated works. Drainage works have been completed with former small island within Tarmac being filled by Contractor and will be sealed along with the whole tarmac. It is anticipated that the sealing of both taxiway and tarmac to be completed by end of this week, weather permitting.

The terminal is 95% complete with minor tidying up to do especially VIP lounge within the Arrival Hall. The Departure Lounge is ready for use by Airlines using 3 check in counters. Two Standby Powers Generators are already installed and in place, ready for official opening.

10806441_938267959536332_2995905350135118967_n

10441479_938267929536335_91708339157509516_n

The Terminal Carpark is bieng tidied up and will be completed by end of November. The Public Toilet for Male/Female has been complete and ready for use at end of Terminal Carpark. The Airport Safety Officers( ASO) residence plus the combination of Tractor Shed/workshop is ready for use. A Tractor (New Holland) with slasher attached is already in place.

Last week a team from NAC and a team from CASA PNG were in Aropa as part of the Certification Process. They were in Bougainville to check and ensure basic and minimum safety requirements are being considered during construction, to check and see how far the Project has progressed and or how long more before official date (Tentative Friday 12th December 2014) and also to check on Operational Requirements immediately after the Construction (Personnel, Security etc.)

The Organising Committee( NAC/ABG) for the opening ceremony , have already put plans in place and will further consult frequently to make the day a historic and memorable day for the whole of Bougainville.

For  Bougainville Tourism information : Government Website

For Bougainville Tour Bookings Bougainville Experience Tours

Small

Bougainville Development News: Arrival of MV Chebu sees Bougainvilleans united to embrace development in region

President Momis, Fabian and Sir Henry Chow carried from wharf to main stage at Bridge

“Our unity is what makes us strong and this same spirit can makes us realize our aspirations and reach our ultimate destination, So I believe that if we can work together and address the issue of self-determination in the same manner we will achieve that which we so crave,”

President Momis speaking at the welcome about the importance of ventures like MV Chebu to the people on Bougainville

Buka Town came to a standstill as the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville gave the MV Chebu a rousing welcome amidst much fanfare and celebration as the vessel steamed into Buka Wharf on Tuesday.

Story by Anthony Kaybing/photograph’s were taken by Simon Jaintong

Bougainvilleans braved the sweltering heat of the humid day which eventually turned into a tumultuous storm to bear witness to a historic event, the arrival of a vessel suitably defined to cater for their maritime needs.

Chebu Steaming into Buka

It was also a an emotionally charged affair for those who remembered the ill-fated Rabual Queen which sank off the Morobean Coast on the 2nd of February 2012 and resulted in the loss of over two hundred Bougainvillean lives along with many Papua New Guineans.

Shipping

But the many who flocked to the wharf to welcome MV Chebu into Bougainville shores shared a feeling of hope and optimism to see the evidence of Bougainville’s rise from the ashes and its journey into progress and development after suffering from the bloodiest conflict in the South Pacific second only to World War II.

It was a time when Bougainvilleans with a mutual feeling of heartiness and pride took ownership of a new development and feverishly swarmed into the wharf to take a look at the new vessel.

On hand to welcome the MV Chebu’s maiden voyage into Bougainville were leaders from the Autonomous Bougainville Government including President Chief Dr John Momis and several of the members and ministers of the Bougainville House of Representatives and senior bureaucrats with chiefs from the clans in the North Bougainville area.

forefront Lady Collette Chow, Lady Elizabeth Momis, President John Momis and Sir Henry Chow

Local PNG businessman and philanthropist Sir Henry Chow who is involved with the ABG in the joint venture that has seen the formation of the Chebu Shipping Company, was also present to witness the event.

Sir Henry and his son Fabian were initiated into Nakas and Amara clans respectively as chieftains of these clans as a sign of respect and gratitude by the people of Bougainville.

An emotional Sir Henry said he was happy and proud to see the support Bougainvilleans have shown in welcoming MV Chebu into Bougainville and him and his son the honor to being initiated as chiefs.

“Bougainville has always been a significant place in my family’s history, and I am certainly not new to place,” said the knight.

The Chow family has had a long history with Bougainville spanning three quarters of a century with members of Sir Henry’s family owning property and businesses in Bougainville.

Just prior to the Bougainville Crises the Chow Family had numerous vessels operating in Bougainville, losing one as a result of the conflict.

Despite the losses suffered by the Chow Family during the Crises they continued to help in whatever way they could over the years.

Their help would continue on till the ill-fated Rabaul Queen disaster that cost more than 300 hundred lives, most of whom were students travelling back to their respective schools to begin the academic year.

Sir Henry said the idea to enter into a joint venture with the ABG and the Chow Family business arm Hakau Investments came about after the Rabaul Queen disaster in early 2012 when ABG President Chief Dr John Momis discussed the need for safe and efficient vessels to provide for the people along the New Guinea Islands maritime route.

During the disaster Sir Henry Chow was the first respondent to help the ABG organize food, shelter as well as providing funds for the survivors.

It was also during the disaster that initial discussions over the joint venture started and blossomed over the next three years and saw the creation of the Chebu Shipping Company which will now manage the joint venture between the ABG and Hakau Investment.

Over the next three years the vessel’s design was done be according to specifications that would meet the maritime needs of the New Guinea Islands and for two years MV Chebu was being constructed at the Shunhai Ship Building Company Shipyard in China.

984241_930671803613051_6664658872766626770_n

The vessel has been christened MV Chebu in homage to the iconic Chebu stone near Sohano Island and old folklore suggest it was responsible for creating the Buka Passage.

Island

ABG President Chief Dr John Momis Paid tribute to those who worked hard to seeing the joint venture a reality and he especially thanked the Chow Family for their willingness to invest in Bougainville.

Dr Momis also expressed his happiness in seeing Bougainvilleans united to embrace development in the region

_DSC8942

“Our unity is what makes us strong and this same spirit can makes us realize our aspirations and reach our ultimate destination,” the President said.

“So I believe that if we can work together and address the issue of self-determination in the same manner we will achieve that which we so crave,” he said.

“Self-determination is rejecting, corruption, self-determination is rejecting violence and the negative aspects of life that cause disunity and instability,” President Momis.

The President’s remarks urged Bougainvilleans to use their intellect and will to work in union to enable Bougainville to realize its political self-determination.

Flag

The President expressed his gratitude to the Chow family for their endeavoring efforts in seeing the vessel through its completion a month and for having the faith to reinvest in Bougainville after the Bougainville Crises.

MV Chebu left Bougainville on its first commercial run taking Team Bougainville athletes to Lae for the PNG Games on Wednesday 12th November 2014.

The vessel has a total capacity of 370 passengers that includes 22 passengers, a top speed of 12 knots and a gross tonnage of 1152 tonnes.

 

Bougainville Tourism News : Does Bougainville have a 5 year tourism plan ?

 

10616228_10203733877739576_637445258908330075_n

Above: Bougainville’s  tourism future ( 2015-2019 ) was recently represented for the first time at an International Tourism Expo in  Port Moresby (September 2014) by Zhon Bosco from Bougainville Experience Tours (website ) and his international support team Colin Cowell, Simon Pentanu and James Tanis.

But does Bougainville have a plan to take advantage of the South Pacific tourism  opportunities that may occur over the next 5 years ?

In this report from Radio New Zealand opportunities are explored that will effect Bougainville ?

The South Pacific Tourism Organisation is seeking donor and development partnerships to help it implement a five year regional tourism strategy.

Download the strategy and more information

The plan which was approved at the Pacific Tourism Ministers Council meeting last week in Nuku’alofa aims to guide the promotion and development of the industry in the 16 member countries of the SPTO.

Its Chief Executive, Ilisoni Vuidreketi, spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the contents of the new strategy.

ILISONI VUIDREKETI:  We are looking at how we can improve air access and route development, another issue is the cruise ship sector development and we are looking at also, how we can strengthen our marketing program to create more of that Pacific Island visibility in the long haul markets. The other areas that we have looked at is investment in Tourism and product development, research and statistics and of course sustainable tourism planning.

KOROI HAWKINS: In terms of the Cruise Shipping in the Pacific, why is this emerging now? What are the trends that we are seeing?

IV: Yea, we are seeing at the global level, the number of ships that are coming out of the docks, new ships, new cruise vessels, its increasing every year and the ships are getting bigger and bigger. We have cruise liners coming into the Pacific that carry up to 2,000 passengers or 500, 300 for the smaller vessels. No we are looking at ships that are having capacity of up to 4,000 passengers. Now that is certainly something that we cannot accommodate here in the Pacific. But we are looking at the redeployment of the middle sized ships to the other parts of the world and also the trend that we have seen for cruise liners to be looking for new destinations.

boat Of Arawa

Cruise ship of Pok Pok Island recently

KH: In terms of funding the Pacific Tourism Strategy, where is the money coming from and how much is it?

IV: Sorry I don’t have that figure right now with me. But the programme sets out it is very clear we will certainly be needing the support of development partners. And so the funding that we are looking for is firstly from the contribution of our member governments, which is quite limited when we come to think about this, this big plans for the Pacific. So we are looking at other development partners. That is why we spoke with New Zealand as one of the best options. Also we will be looking at other countries like, perhaps Australia, China and others who may want to be part of this. We are also looking at other donor agencies like the European Union to also pitch in. So it is a collective effort with those, key stakeholders that we have identified.