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

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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”.

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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.

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“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 Tourism News : Historic Japanese Yamamoto WWII crash site opened to tourists in Bougainville

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The World War II crash site of a military plane carrying Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who masterminded the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour, has been opened to visitors in Bougainville for the first time in more than five years.

Yamamoto’s plane was gunned down by allied forces in 1943, sending the Mitsubishi G4M ‘Betty’ crashing down into the thick jungle of Papua New Guinea’s autonomous Bougainville region.

Access to the site at Kokopo village, in the region’s Buin district, had been closed due to a land dispute between rival clans.

But the area recently reopened, with local tourism operators hoping this year — the 70th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War — would result an increase in the number of international visitors.

Visitors stand in front of the Yamamoto crash site in PNG's Bougainville region

Historic WWII crash site opened to tourists in Bougainville for first time in more than five years

“The plane is still sitting there in the jungle. But at the moment, the people there have made gardens close to the site,” Zhon Bosco, owner of Bougainville Experience Tours, told Pacific Beat, adding the area was being cleared.

“We’re having a lot of inquiries, people are already booking with us to see the site. But most of them haven’t confirmed the dates to come in.”

Interest in the war strategist and Japanese navy commander is as strong as ever, particularly among the growing number of Japanese tourist travelling to the Pacific to learn more about their military past.

“For Japanese people, it’s one of the most significant World War II history sites around,” Mr Bosco said.

He said visitors would not be deterred by the long travel time or land disputes surrounding the crash site.

“We have a network with the locals. For Yamamoto crash site, we have connection with them so every time when people want to go there, we tell them there are people coming in, so they prepare themselves,” Mr Bosco said.

“I think people coming here, they will not have any problems with security.”

Yamamoto’s legacy remains

Yamamoto is remembered for his role in the attack on Peal Harbour in the US, which left more 2,400 Americans dead and another 1,000 people injured.

Japanese Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku

“Yamamoto is the most exalted hero in the imperial Japanese navy’s history. And he’s been untainted by Japan’s defeat, and he’s been untainted and any hint of war crimes,” US naval historian Mark Stille said.

“He remains a hero in Japan today.”

Yamamoto was instrumental in planning the attack on Pearl Harbour, which was not a strategic priority of the Japanese navy until he agitated for it.

“Here’s a man who thought he knew the American psyche. He thought that by — putting it simply — sinking a few battleships that he would shock the Americans into a negotiated peace,” Mr Stille said.

“Of course the exact opposite thing happened. Had the Japanese stuck to their strategy, perhaps occupying the Philippines on their way to Malaysia and Singapore, and the areas down south, that they had to have for the oil they needed to break the US embargo.

“Had they done that there would have been a different US reaction.”

Yamamoto was shot down after American code-breakers found out he was planning to visit troops stationed off Bougainville.

For Tour bookings contact Zhon Bosco Miriona

www.bougtours.com Tel International : +675 736 56050 Local PNG 73656050

 

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Bougainville Tourism News : First Japanese tourists to visit reopened WW2 Yamamoto site

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After 10 years of closure, Bougainville’s iconic World War II relic has reopened to tourists.

Story By Ishmael Palipal

The crash site of the Mitsubishi G4M ‘Betty’, which carried the Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, is located at Kokopo village of Makis Constituency in Buin District.

Admiral Yamamoto was one of the Japanese masterminds of Pearl Harbor attack and was gunned down with his war plane on 18 April, 1943 by US forces, causing his plane to crash south Bougainville.

According to the landowners Chairman Mr Raphael Bakiri, before the crisis the Yamamoto crash site was one of the hottest tourism spots in Buin District.

He stated that the place took in many tourists every day and the villagers now want to revive that.

“The place was very restricted because it is on the border of two clans,” Mr Bakiri said.

“This caused a conflict, but after the recent reconciliation they are very happy to make revenue out of it in an equal basis.”

Chairman Raphael Bakiri standing at the side of the Bougainville Experience Tours hire car with Steven Tamiung of Bougainville Experience Tours.
Chairman Raphael Bakiri standing at the side of the Bougainville Experience Tours hire car with Steven Tamiung of Bougainville Experience Tours.

According to Mr Steven Tamiung of Bougainville Experience Tours (BET), the first Japanese tours will visit the Yamamoto site in the month of April. These are Nichibu Research Group who is already booked with BET to do a four day tour and Yamamoto site is their priority site to visit.

BET also stated that more interested requests for the site are coming in. One confirmed for June and July is Japanese Homestay documentary filming group.

Steven Tamiung stated that according to the villagers, Bougainville Experience Tours is the first and the only tourism consultants that the landowners are engaging to bring tourists to the site.

“The landowners are very happy to engage us to help bring in tourist to visit the site,” Mr Tamiung said.

“They have agreed to the price of K150 per head for international tourists to visit the site.”

For more info check out Bougainville Experience Website

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Bougainville Tourism News: Over 50 American tourists visit Pororan Island

 

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By Aloysius Laukai

More than 50 American Tourists visited PORORAN island in North Bougainville aboard the Tourist vessel OCEANIC DISCOVERER (7  March) .

This was the first time for a Tourist boat to visit the island which is on the North West Coast of Buka island and surrounded by other smaller islands.

Oceanic Discoveror

Since the end of the conflict Tourist boats have  been visiting Bougainville since 2009 and the number of vessels have increased.

The Oceanic Discoverer  berthed just off the main Pororan island and tourists had to get on a smaller ferry to take them about five minutes boat ride to the island where the whole village including those from nearby YAPARU and YITOU villages were waiting with displays of both sea shells, artifacts and dancing and singing.

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Tour Organizer LAWRENCE BELLEH was very happy that his people had done well to welcome the visitors and this included ground preparation to prepare the village for the visitors.BELLEH said that he was satisfied that the people of Pororan had created history by getting a tourist boat to their island and that the team leader on the vessel had promised that PORORAN would be included ss one of their destinations in the future.

According to the visitors who were Americans this was their first time in the South Pacific and that they really enjoyed coming to Bougainville.

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The Oceanic Explorer  arrived at Pororan island just after 11 am yesterday and left Pororan after 9pm last night which is also one of the longest visits by a Tourist boat to Bougainville so far.

Other Boats that have visited Bougainville are Clipper Odyssey and the Orion.

A TV Crew from the PNG TV Station EMTV flew in from Port Moresby to cover the visit for their weekly TOK PIKSA program.

NEED more info about Bougainville Tourism CLICK HERE

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

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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

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

 

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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).

 

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

Significant markets

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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

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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

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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.

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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.
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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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

 

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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.