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08 February 2019

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Philip Kai Morre

Tour guides and carriers are integral part of the whole tracking and tourism industry weather you are in Kokoda Trail track or climbing Mt Wilhelm or some other tourism spot.

Tour guides and carriers are experienced bush walkers and they get used to the natural environment and dangers that are involved.

Newcomers can easily get lost, exhausted, feel sick and may not have energy to walk long distance. You need this people every moment of your adventure to guide and protect you in the midst of escalating law and order problems or natural disaster or tropical diseases.

Tour guides have to be highly paid from trekking operators or individuals. The safety of both tour guides and tourists is equally important. Tour guides should not be seen as cheap labour only come in for few bucks to buy tin fish and rice.

I am not familiar with the Kokoda Trail but at Mt Wilhelm tourists climb the mountain every day and guides are there to assist them to climb the mountain to the summit and back.

It is a unique experience for tourists who have never seen a beautiful mountain with crystal clear lakes that you will see your own face like a mirror.

Mountain climbers who climb the mountain without guides often got lost along the way and you will find them dead or alive.

Mountain climbing and the trekking industry in iconic areas is an emerging economic activity with increasing cash flow and foreign currency access. I have seen tourists and mountain climbers who came to climb Mt Wilhelm give individual tour guides US dollars. When you convert them into kina you get big money.

The government has to seriously get involved in this industry. The Kokoda Trail is potentially good for the Koari and Oro economy. The guides should be professionally organised and appropriately rewarded.

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