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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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 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 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.

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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.

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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

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“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.

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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: New Aropa airport to boost Bougainville Tourism to the world

Aropa

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister ,Peter O’Neill,  will open the Arupa international airport in Bougainville in December.

Regional events and protocol officer of Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Joe Maineke confirmed this to the Solomon Star last Friday at Madang airport.

See Solomon Star report here October 22

He said the establishment of the airport will boost the tourism industry in Bougainville particularly, access flights to Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

It would create employment opportunities, improve standard of living and boost the national economy.

Maineke said once the airport is open there will be a connection flights for PNG, Solomon Islands and Australia.

“Our government has redirect its economic focus to tourism for locals to engage in,  because of mining industry continues to deplete”

“Potential tourism sites in Bougainville are the war relics and their cultural dances and traditions. Our tourism division is working in partnership with our government to build the tourism hub at Buin.

“Increasing of tourists and international visitors coming to the Island is a clear manifestation for us to improve our infrastructure development in the years to come.

“The airport is a major infrastructure achievement of ABG with its people to propel developments in Bougainville.”

Aropa 2

 

Maineke confirmed that a Solomon Islands government delegation will also be part of the opening.

Picture below Bougainville Experience Tours blue team Zhon Bosco, Colin Cowell, Simon Pentanu and James Tanis in Port Moresby recently promoting tourism to international tour operators: www.bougtours.com

 

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Bougainville Cultural News: Mona Cultural Festival in Buka hailed as success : great images

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Story and photos by Aloysius Laukai ; additional photos Paul Wagam and Brian Semoso

The three-days Mona festival was hailed a success despite government funding allocation not released on time.

This was the message echoed by the Chairlady of the Festival Committee, FRANCESCA SEMOSO at the close of the festival yesterday afternoon.

Ms Semoso said that despite these hiccups the three-days festival was incident free and safe and was enjoyed by all who attended.

She said thanked the local sponsors who donated in cash and kind to make the festival a success.

Mrs Semoso said that show casing one’s culture was good as it identifies the uniqueness of different groups.

Meanwhile, one of the famous Bougainville actors and co-actor in the Tukana film with Francesca Semoso, MR. ALBERT TORO who was one for the festival  organizers, said that he was happy to see all the different people participate at the festival.

He said Bougainville had both the Melanesians and the Polynesians and it was good to see them participate as true Bougainvilleans.

The three-days festival was officially closed by the ABG Minister for culture, Mechior Dare.

Mona 1

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larence

You can book tours to Bougainville

 

 

Bougainville News : Bougainville Government invests in new shipping service

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The shipping woes of the people in the New Guinea Islands will soon be at an end following the official handover of MV Chebu on Sunday to the Bougainville Government.

MV Chebu is part of the newly created Chebu Shipping Company, a joint venture between the Autonomous Bougainville Government and Hakau Investments Limited, a subsidiary of businesses owned by local Businessman, Sir Henry Chow.

ABG President Chief Dr John Momis has described the new ship as the biggest impact project undertaken by the ABG to date following the Bougainville Crises.

“This ship is something all Bougainvilleans can be proud of as it shows our willingness to progress and reconstruct Bougainville,” President Momis said.

“I would also like to thank all those responsible for making the ship a reality especially the ABG official, Hakau investment and the Shunhai Ship Building Company for building the vessel,” the President said.

After viewing the vessel the President and Sir Henry were mutually happy with its completion and its specifications as it suits the maritime needs of the people

The President also revealed that after consulting Sir Henry they have decided to purchase another vessel for the Chebu Shipping Company in the near future.

The vessel has been built to specifications suitable for Papua New Guinea and will carry at 370 passengers including the crew and offers the latest in maritime technology that will guarantee safe passage for those wishing to travel the route.

The K15 million vessel has also been designed to meet National Maritime Safety Authority regulations such as proper safety equipment for each passengers and creature comforts including flat screen televisions in the main seating area and cabins and life jackets for every passenger and crew.

MV Chebu will be travelling the New Guinea Islands route from Buka, Rabaul, Kimber and Lae, a very lucrative route that has not been serviced since the tragic Rabaul Queen.

The joint venture company involved with the ABG in the Chebu Shipping Company, Hakau Investments limited has expressed its satisfaction at the completion of MV Chebu.

PNG entrepreneur Sir Henry Chow who owns Hakau Investments has expressed his gratitude to the Shunhai Ship Building Company for its workmanship for the last 18 months.

Sir Henry explained that the project is a joint venture between the ABG and the Chow family who have an immense experience in providing maritime services in Papua New Guinea as they own Coastal Shipping amongst their properties.

Sir Henry said he had accepted an invitation ABG President Chief Dr John Momis’ proposal to enter into a joint venture with the ABG to build a ship to service Bougainville and the New Guinea Islands.

He said Hakau Investments had done the initial design for the ship which was then given to a Singaporean firm to add the final touches to its design which has been used to complete the vessel.

Despite the vessel’s completion there have been minor technical and bureaucratic details that have to be sorted out before the vessel is set to sail for Papua New Guinea waters.

Sir Henry has given his assurance that the MV Chebu will be able to sail to PNG in the coming weeks once the technical issues have been resolved.

“Bougainville at this time desperately needs the services of a reliable ferry service one which the Chebu Shipping Company will graciously meet,” Sir Henry said.

“We are very confident this ship will provide a good service to the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea,” the Knight remarked.

The commitment by Sir Henry to go into business with the ABG came after the tragic loss of 300 lives, most of whom were Bougainvilleans, aboard the ill-fated MV Rabaul Queen.

Sir Henry was one of the first respondents to the needs of the survivors, providing support in cash and kind and also helped the ABG look after Bougainvilleans involved in the shipping mishap two years ago.

Sir Henry Chow was knighted by the Queen of England for his philanthropy to the people of Papua New Guinea over the years.