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09 December 2014

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In response to the request for a breakup of tourism figures for the years 2011, 2012, and 2013, I am sending an attachment that gives the data and a narrative.

A PDF download has been appended to the end of the original article.

I don't believe these figures. To start off, VISITORS are not necessarily tourists and immigration and foreign affairs has never segregated visitors into categories that clearly show how many tourists come to PNG. Revenue in the billions of kina? Absolutely impossible!

The premiere traveler's guide to PNG, LONELY PLANET, once was thick and devoted only to PNG. Declining sales in subsequent editions of the PNG book, which started the whole Lonely Planet empire, eventually led to the Solomons and PNG being combined in the same book. Lonely Planet roamer-writer-recorders say themselves that PNG is becoming much less unique and less interesting as we all rush to becoming nothing more than another country of impoverished black people, abandoning all that made our culture particularly unique and special.

Why would a tourist come to PNG when it is cheaper to go to Cairns or to Bali, it's cheaper to do so, and it's easier to see local culture (Balinese or aboriginal).

What are the breakdown of the figures? Does this just count all arrivals of foreign people on tourist visas? Because there is a significant amount of people not engaging in tourism when they come on tourist visas, but rather just visiting family or coming for one off business meetings (but avoiding the costly business visa), or are coming for short term missionary or volunteer work. What are the destination figures? It would be interesting to see whether the Islands or Highlands are seeing increased tourist growth. Kokoda sucks up a whole lot of the tourists coming to PNG, but they don't seem to go any further.
I understand that there is a significant increase in people visiting people on Cruise Ships, but they do not contribute significantly to local bottom lines, because of the nature of their travel (ie, they don't pay for accommodation, food, in PNG).

Boka Kondra is a bit of a dark horse.

When I first met him in 2012 at the Crocodile Prize awards I was underwhelmed to say the least. That he failed to recognise Russell Soaba and stumbled over his speech didn't help.

He comes from my favourite part of the Western Province and was, I believe, a school teacher. In 2012 he was trying to secure development funds for his area and had made some unwise promises to his constituents. Where that has gone I'm not sure.

Since then, however, he seems to have turned into a quiet achiever.

He is certainly likeable and was a very jovial presence at the 2014 awards, where he made an inspiring speech. That he has stuck with us is very heartening.

How much of all this is him and how much is his advisors it is hard to tell. Whatever it is they are all doing a good job.

He seems to have a genuine interest in PNG's future.

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