NEGATIVE publicity of Papua New Guinea does not help in the growth of tourism in the country, Gateway Hotel general manager Mathew Cooper said last week.
Cooper, speaking during a panel discussion on the country’s tourism industry, said security was an issue to potential tourists coming to Papua New Guinea.
“Media reports don’t help it. Things have been blown out of proportion in the media, which does not help.
“Papua New Guineans within their communities have to understand what tourism is and the benefits tourism can bring to their community and having to make sure that their community is safe.”
However, other members of the panel argued otherwise, saying law and order was not the only issue to be blamed for the lack of growth in the tourism sector.
Chief executive PNG Tourism Authority (PNGTA) Peter Vincent said the organisation had been vocal in marketing PNG as the tourism destination to the world.
However, he said questions remain whether PNG was a best tourism destination.
“Question that we can ask everywhere we go is that, is Papua New Guinea safe?
“My answer is that there is no place on earth that is safe. You just have to be sensible in the way you’re going and Papua New Guinea is no exception.
“There are a lot of other barriers that prevents tourism growth.”
Government is one, the infrastructure issue is one and the list goes on and on.”
Kokoda Track Authority CEO James Enage said PNG should not only tie down to only one particular factor as people were saying there were too many bad things happening in the country.
Port Moresby (The National)