PNG’s Minister for Tourism, Arts & Culture, Boka Kondra, says is appalled at the reported mistreatment of tourists by Port Moresby taxi drivers.
“We cannot afford to intimidate taxi clients whether they are from Papua New Guinea or overseas”, he said after a taxi driver drove off with a souvenir bilum when a tourist refused to pay a K120 fare for a 45-minute trip.
“I condemn this act, this is unacceptable,” Mr Kondra said.
He said he wants a stringent system put in place so taxi tariffs are properly policed and taxi operators licensed by the government as professional organizations with a culture of courtesy and care for their clients.
“The National Capital District Commission or a local level government should seriously consider taking over the taxi service,” Mr Kondra said. “Alternatively, the government should look at creating a taxi monopoly.
“As Minister responsible for the tourism industry, I am disturbed to learn that there are people out there who call themselves taxi drivers but act like common thieves.
“We need for applicants for taxi permits to be put through qualification exams and proper police background checks so that we reduce or eliminate the number of taxi drivers intimidating passengers.”
Mr Kondra said he will ask the National Executive Council to establish Tourism Police.
“The tourism police concept is based on community policing where we will select people and organizations already involved in the tourism sector to be trained as members of the Reserve Police or as police constables,” he said.
“I want taxi operators to be part of this so that we police law and order and promote tourism at the same time.”