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P&O’s Pacific Dawn on its maiden voyage to Madang & Wewak

Pacific DawnKEITH JACKSON

THE P&O cruise ship Pacific Dawn will be making its maiden visits to Madang tomorrow and Wewak on Friday.

And the people of Madang and Wewak have been called upon to embrace cruise tourism in their provinces.

PNG Tourism Promotion Authority chief executive officer Peter Vincent said the people must become role models by displaying the positive side of Papua New Guinea to international visitors.

“This is an opportunity for us to change negative perceptions about PNG being a dangerous place to visit, so we must accord visitors respect and make them feel welcome in our beautiful country,” he said.

“Many of the tourists on the ship are first time visitors to PNG so let’s show them we are friendly and welcoming people so more tourists continue to come and visit our beautiful country.”

Mr Vincent said while Madang has seen several cruise ships in recent years, Wewak will be experiencing something new in terms of large numbers of tourists on the ground at one time.

“We are talking about more than 2,000 tourists and 700 crew all arriving in Wewak for a whole day and this will be something new and exciting for Wewak residents and the whole province,” he added.

Mr Vincent said cruise ship development was quickly taking shape in PNG since the launch of the Tourism Promotion Authority’s cruise development strategy in 2007.

He said other international cruise ship companies are now taking a keen interest in PNG.

Mr Vincent said further expansion is planned in 2016 to include the Ali Island in West Sepik and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

“This is an exciting time for cruise tourism in PNG especially for the people of Madang and Wewak and they must utilise the opportunity to showcase what they can offer as a province to the international cruise tourism community,” he said.

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Peter Kranz

I don't mean to put a damper on this, but there is a downside to cruise tourism which PNG should be aware of. One of my sons worked for several years in the British Virgin Islands and saw the seedy side of rapid-transit tourists in the Caribbean.

Local people's customs and culture are degraded by putting on touristy displays. Prostitution and drug use increase, opportunity theft is seen as a 'business opportunity' and money from tourists goes as quickly as it comes.

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