The Autonomous Region of Bougainville is the furthest island from the mainland of Papua New Guinea (PNG). The island’s unique ethnicity, vibrant culture, natural scenic landscapes and historic sites offer many opportunities for major tourism development.Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Hon. Tobias Kulang , the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA), the Office of Tourism Arts and Culture and staff from the minister’s office were in Bougainville to officially launch the Buka Town Tourism Development Initiative 2016-2020.
The project aims to develop Buka Town into a tourism hub by 2018 and connecting the Autonomous Region of Bougainville with the Pacific through the Solomon Seas Tourism Zone Initiative.
Above: Hon.Tobias Kulang with Buka town mayor, Buka town manager, Tourism Associatin Minister, Vice Minister Robert Hamal, Hon. Jimmy Minigtoro, Minister for Communication and ABG Tourism Director at the official unveiling of the Buka Town Tourism Development Initiative.
The visiting national tourism delegation was taken on a tour of popular sites and attractions in Arawa, Buin and Kieta. During the tour Minister Kulang and the delegates met with officials from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and representatives from the local tourism industry.
In an internal report based on the findings from the visit, the PNGTPA made a number of recommendations for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville government (ABG) with regards to tourism development, including: developing a Tourism Master Plan, Tourism Funding support for the ABG and for the local tourism industry to form an association to better voice issues and concerns faced by the tourism industry in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
PNGTPA and the ABG will continue tourism discussions throughout the year. Tourism delegates from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville will be invited to the annual Lukim PNG Nau tourism expo in Port Moresby hosted by the PNGTPA and the PNG Tourism Industry Association.
Included in delegation is Zhon Bosco Miriona ,Managing Director, Bougainville Experience Tours who has now represented Bougainville Internationally for the past 6 years travelling to Europe and Australia
For further information regarding the national tourism delegation visit to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville contact PNGTPA marketing coordinator Mr. Joel Keimelo, email: email@example.com
National Minister for Tourism, Arts & Culture, Tobias Kulang in partnership with his colleague ABG Vice Minister for Tourism, Robert Hamal Sawa, today officially launched the Buka Town Tourism Development Initiative 2016- 2020.
Photo and Text Augustine Minghai Kinna
Bougainville culture at its best! The YUMI YET BAMBOO BAND from Haku Constituency of Buka District performing in today’s launching of the Buka Town Tourism Development Initiative 2016- 2020.
The initiative will be a strategic roadmap towards making Buka Town a tourism hub by 2018. This is an on going programme that aims to pursue not only remarkable but tangible developments through to 2020 and beyond by establishing the Solomon Seas Tourism Zone Initiative which will enable cooperation and links with the wider Pacific.
The onus is now with the people of Bougainville to take ownership of the initiative in supporting the ABG government and other relevant authorities with the programme. Tourism is a hidden pot of gold in Bougainville that needs to be tapped into to be realised. Today’s launching signifies the start of greater things to be achieved by the tourism industry in Bougainville and Papua New Guinea has a whole.
And a visit to South Bougainville
Text and Picture Sasha Tahei Pei-Silovo
The Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Honourable Tobias Kulang being welcomed by cultural groups in Buin-South Bougainville earlier today.
The Minister accompanied by a delegation of representatives from the Ministry, Tourism Promotion Authority, National Cultural Commission and Office of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and ABG Members met with Tourism stakeholders in Buin to discuss ways forward in developing Tourism in the area.
The Minister is officially touring the Autonomous Region visiting South, Central and North Bougainville and will also launch the Bougainville Tourism Programme and Buka Tourism Plan on Friday in Buka. #PNGTourism #AROB #Buin #TobiasKulang #Pacific #tourism #Bougainville
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The upe is totem-poled to mark the inner boundaries of Bougainville’s Parliament House at Kubu on Buka Island.
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
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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”.
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.
“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 “
International tourism Buyers (travel agents and wholesalers) interested in sending visitors to Bougainville PNG have given the recent South Pacific Tourism Exchange (SPTE) 2015 and especially Bougainville as a future growing tourism destination the ‘thumbs-up’ after two-days of successful business-to-business meetings at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre .
Tour operators, hotel and accommodation providers as well as National Tourism Offices from 16 Pacific Island Countries converged into Melbourne with over 60 international buyers from the traditional source markets of Australia and New Zealand to the emerging long haul markets of the United States, China and Europe to conduct business and networking.
Zhon Bosco Miriona, Managing Director of Bougainville Experience Tours for second time in the past year 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.
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
Mr. Miriona said without the help of Bougainville small business and other sponsors and supporters (see list below) I would not have been able to attend this important but expensive international marketing opportunity for Bougainville.
“Our fundraising in Arawa raised 5,270 kina and it really proved that a wide range of organisations and individuals understand the economic, cultural and social benefits that international tourism can bring to Bougainville. Hopefully this new Government can also see that they need to develop a Bougainville Tourism Plan 2015-2025 to strategically invest in tourism infrastructure training and marketing “Mr. Miriona said
Mr Miriona stated SPTE 2015 was bigger than initially anticipated and the large number of buyers and sellers at this year’s event is indicative of the growing interest in the Pacific region’s only tourism exchange.
“The overwhelming response to SPTE 2015 from both the buyers and sellers has contributed to its success! Our PNG team worked especially hard to ensure that the quality of buyers from our international markets would add value to the exchange, especially for our regional member areas like Bougainville. The PNG Tourism Promotion Authority and Colin Cowell have been a fantastic support developing Bougainville tourism over the past few years. I am pleased to say that with all this support Bougainville does have a bright future” Mr. Miriona added.
Mr Miriona went on to say that the major problem that Bougainville cultural tourism has is that the Bougainville Government cannot guarantee funding or dates for the many festivals or events that occur each year throughout the island such as Mona and the Reeds Festival .
“Like other major cultural festivals throughout Papua New Guinea we need to lock in dates and funding five years ahead so that International buyers and cruise ships can plan and sell tours”
Mr Miriona went on to highlight some of the other international marketing that he and Mr Cowell did whilst in Melbourne
“This year SPTE 2015 extended an invitation to the international media that were in Melbourne for the Australian Tourism Exchange and I was able to do a number of radio interviews promoting Bougainville tourism
Rimbink Pato, Minister For Foreign Affairs and Immigration, has announced a ban on Australians travelling to Bougainville.
Minister Pato issued the notice following the announcement by Australia of its plan to establish an Open Mission in Bougainville.
The Minister said, “I have instructed the Chief Migration Officer to impose the ban with immediate effect and to notify all PNG Overseas Missions and Posts and domestic carriers of the ban.”
He said Australians residing in Bougainville on work and permanent resident visas will not be affected by the ban. The ban will apply to all Australian passport holders who intend to visit Bougainville on tourist, business and other short-term entry visa’s.
All Diplomats and Foreign Government Officials wishing to visit Bougainville must seek clearance from the Department of Foreign Affairs before travelling to Bougainville. A clearance note will be issued to the Carrier to uplift the named officail(s).
The ban will also be imposed on any foreigner who applies for a visa at an PNG Overseas Missions and Post to visit Bougainville.
PNG Migration, Customs and Police Officers on duty at PNG Ports and Entry and Provincial Airports will monitor the ban and report any non-compliance to the Chief Migration Officer.
Source: Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration 15 May 2015 [Media Release]
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You must be logged in to post a comment.