OVER 3,000 TREKKERS are walking the Kokoda Track this year as the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority promotes the 70th Anniversary of the Kokoda Campaign with commemorative treks being run by many tour operators.
Recent research estimates that each year trekkers visiting the Kokoda area have contributed millions of dollars to the PNG economy.
This income benefits local communities, led by the Kokoda Initiative, a joint partnership between the PNG and Australian governments.
Reminding Australians of the special bond forged between the countries 70 years ago, Chairman of the Kokoda Track Authority, Ruben Maleva, encouraged people to trek Kokoda. An estimated 30,000 Australians have returned to trek Kokoda since Australian soldiers left PNG.
“This has made a huge impact to the local communities aiding development with increased education and health services, creating jobs for porters, guides and guesthouse operators and other small businesses,” Mr Maleva said.
This year’s anniversary not only gives Australians a chance to reflect on this important part of the two country’s shared history, but the TPA hopes it will lead to more Australians being inspired to do the trek and in turn contribute to the communities along it.