Travel, tourism & transport Feed

Manus – a tourist destination or a crime against humanity?

Mungo MacCallum
Mungo MacCallum

MUNGO MacCALLUM | John Menadue’s ‘Pearls & Irritations’

OCEAN SHORES - My first reaction to the report that the Australian government was planning to boost tourism in Manus Island was one of disbelief and revulsion. This was the place – well, one of the places—that successive coalition ministers gloated was hell on earth.

The cynical myth of the so-called Pacific Solution as a tropical paradise of palm trees and beaches had been well and truly dispelled: Manus was a gulag, a prison camp where asylum seekers, whether genuine refugees or not, could be left to suffer and if necessary die in the national interest.

It was and is a monument to political brutality, opportunism and a jingoism that frequently crosses the border into racism. To turn it into some kind of pleasure resort would be an obscenity.

And yet perhaps there is a kind of sense to the idea. Perhaps the tourists would not come for the surfing and scuba diving, but for those all too recent memories.

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A Kiwi police sergeant’s letter home from Bougainville

CRAIG THORNE | Bay of Plenty Times 

Sgt Craig Thorne and Bougainville kids
Sergeant Craig Thorne takes a selfie with boys from Buin

BUIN - For those of you who don't know, I am currently on a deployment from Waihi in New Zealand to Bougainville in a town called Buin which is as far south as you can go and is the most remote part of Papua New Guinea.

Without going into too much detail, New Zealand Police are here to assist the Bougainville Police Service and advise them on policing matters. This will eventually have them being self-sufficient and enabling them to police without our influence. Three NZ Police are based in Buin.

The country is still rebuilding from the civil war of 1988-1998 which ended with between 15,000 and 20,000 Bougainvilleans dead. This all started over the Panguna mine which in its day was the largest open cut mine in the world, rich in copper and gold.

I am now a month into my 12-month deployment - so what do I miss? It is not the material things or peanut M&Ms (well, I do, but can live without). It is my partner, close family and friends. I have learnt very quickly here that, at the end of the day, that is all that really matters.

I don't want for anything here. It has been a month since I've had a trim latte and I haven't gone crazy yet although I will be looking forward to one when I return.

Continue reading "A Kiwi police sergeant’s letter home from Bougainville" »


Highly recommended: A family cruise to Papua New Guinea

Arriving-in-papua-new-guinea
Papua New Guinea landfall - Pacific Eden docks at Alotau

DAWN NICHOLSON | P&O Cruise Review

SYDNEY - Our kids have been bugging us for a couple of years now to do a cruise, but it wasn’t until we found P&O’s Papua New Guinea cruise itineraries that we finally booked one.

The kids had seen cruise ships throughout our travels and were absolutely taken with the on-board activities and luxurious ships.

When I discovered that we could cruise to Papua New Guinea, a country I never thought we would ever visit, I was hooked.

I grew up with an intense interest in other cultures.  I devoured National Geographic magazines, took anthropology classes in university and sought out remote areas on our travels. 

The idea of visiting untouched islands with rich, tribal cultures straight out of those anthropology textbooks was incredibly alluring for me.  Especially since we could do that and experience our first cruise together as a family, making the kids happy too.

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Security continues to impair Japanese tourism in PNG

Satoshi Nakajima
HE Satoshi Nakajima

STAFF REPORTER | PNG Today

PORT MORESBY - Japanese Ambassador Satoshi Nakajima says safety continues to be a major issue affecting the number of Japanese tourists arriving in Papua New Guinea.

Despite this, Mr Nakajima described the country’s tourism potential as huge and said Japan had 16.4 million outbound tourists in 2017.

In his first year in PNG, Mr Nakajima visited the four regions of the country and expressed how impressed he was with what the country has to offer Japanese tourists.

“Regrettably the number of Japanese tourists coming here is not so much,” he said.

“I travelled to Wewak, Kokopo, Kimbe, Mt Hagen, Lae and Pomio. When I travelled to Kokopo and the others I saw the huge potential in promoting tourism.

Continue reading "Security continues to impair Japanese tourism in PNG" »


Travelling home: A thicket of thugs, thieves & dopeheads

KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

PMV pick up
The PMV pick up

PORT MORESBY – The Kundiawa airstrip has been out of action and Chimbus working elsewhere in Papua New Guinea and abroad travelling back to their tribal lands must first fly to Mt Hagen or Goroka.

Public motor vehicles, known as PMVs, then ferry these diaspora members to Kundiawa and beyond to even more remote locations.

Travelling home for the festive season, my wife, children and I departed from Port Moresby for Goroka, where we were greeted by the itch of the fresh, cool air of Apo land.

We picked up our luggage only to be mobbed by kids asking to carry it to the bus stop. In case one of them decided to wander off with it, we politely gave a no for an answer.

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3 ships will accommodate 10,000 at Moresby’s APEC summit

Pacific_Explorer
Pacific Explorer

STAFF REPORTER | Cruise Industry News

SYDNEY - Carnival Australia has announced the charter of three of the cruise company’s ships to support Papua New Guinea’s hosting of the 2018 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Port Moresby in November next year.

P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer and Pacific Jewel as well as Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess will be supporting the accommodation of up to 10,000 delegates and officials, the company said.

The three ships will be moored alongside within the APEC security zones to provide hotel accommodation for those attending the summit.

Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry said the company was pleased to be playing a part in the successful delivery of Papua New Guinea’s first hosting of an APEC Summit, which will attract member nation’s Presidents and Prime Ministers along with thousands of delegates and observers.

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Crackdown: PNG to review work permits of expatriates

Immigration at Jacksons Airport
Immigration at Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby

STAFF REPORTER | Radio New Zealand International

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea's Labour minister Mehrra Kipefa says the work permits of all expatriates in the country will be reviewed, and the rules for new permits will be tightened.

Mr Kipefa also said the rules for the issuing of new permits would be tightened.

He said the review would ensure expatriate workers are only working the one job for which their permit was issued.

He told the newspaper, The National, that some expats have been granted a permit to do a certain job, but then go on to do other things.

Mr Kipefa said those found to be in breach would have their permits cancelled and be deported.

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Our first cruise to Papua New Guinea, and we’ll be back

TIANA TEMPLEMAN | New Zealand Herald

P&O liner anchored in PNG
'Pacific Eden' is greeted by islanders in Milne Bay - "fierce yet friendy"

You can read the full article here

AUCKLAND - Ever run into someone you haven't seen in years and been amazed by how fabulous they look?

That is exactly how my husband and I feel when we board P&O Cruises' Pacific Eden. We have not sailed with P&O since the 1990s, when our South Pacific cruise was memorable for all the wrong reasons, and cannot believe how much the line has changed.

The hard-partying, low-budget vibe of old has been replaced by glamorous bars, upmarket specialty dining, attractive public spaces and family fun.

It had been a long time coming but we decided to give P&O Cruises another try because it was one of the few lines cruising regularly to Papua New Guinea, one of the South Pacific's most stunning emerging cruising destinations.

Continue reading "Our first cruise to Papua New Guinea, and we’ll be back" »


Why Australia must restore shortwave radio to the Pacific

John Greenshields
John Greenshields

JOHN GREENSHIELDS | DevPolicy Blog

ADELAIDE - On our Australian doorstep is an amazing place, Papua New Guinea.

Seven of us were there in August, exploring a remote region of islands and atolls in the Massim district of Milne Bay Province by boat, visiting places most people would not think of seeing.

The incredible opportunity we experienced was matched with a grateful appreciation and response from the communities we meet at each of the 30 islands we stopped at. There was mutual respect.

We weren’t there just as tourists, we were interested in their culture and in particular their many different, traditional types of single outrigger canoe. They responded with information, introduced elders who talked of the past, let us look over the craft in detail and even took us sailing.

Continue reading "Why Australia must restore shortwave radio to the Pacific" »


Envoy to China blames high PNG prices on colonial Australians

PNG’s ambassador to China Christopher Siaoa Mero (Yin Yeping)KEITH JACKSON

IN AN interview with China-based Global Times, Papua New Guinea’s ambassador to China, Christopher Siaoa Mero, has said retail prices are high in PNG because the structure of the economy was built by colonial Australians.

Journalist Yin Yeping asked Mero (pictured) for his views on whether Chinese businessmen were the trigger of high costs.

“I don't think that is the case,” Mero said. “The structure of our economy was built by the Australians when they colonised our country.”

Continue reading "Envoy to China blames high PNG prices on colonial Australians" »


Traumatised PMV traveller takes revenge (or thinks about it)

PMV (Scott Waide)SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

AS much as is humanly possible, I avoid the highway bus stop in Lae. It is a chaotic mess of large and small buses that exist in a world of their own.

Their drivers, oblivious to the rules that govern the rest of us normal human beings, pay no attention to the needs of hapless passengers desperate to get their K60 kina worth of travel.

The bus stop is always jam-packed with a crowd fit for the riots that never quite happen. The ‘K5 bosskru,’ as they are called, take up the seating and outnumber the passengers in the mornings.

Continue reading "Traumatised PMV traveller takes revenge (or thinks about it)" »


Rediscovering Papua New Guinea aboard 'Pacific Aria'

Trobriands - two ex PIR soldiers meetTERRY EDWINSMITH

WHILE with the Pacific Islands Regiment in Papua New Guinea, I’d been denied a long-held desire to visit Wewak because of the tragic crash of an RAAF Caribou on 28 August 1972.

The transport aircraft crashed into a hillside, killing its Australian crew and most of its passengers, high school students coming home from a cadet camp. It was the RAAF's worst peacetime air crash, claiming the lives of 25 of the 29 people on board.

I did not have another opportunity to get to the Sepik until last year, when I learned of a P&O cruise to PNG which included Wewak as a port of call - a rare occurrence. 

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Reg's adventure guide to PNG a wonderful gift to trekkers

Captain Reg YatesKEITH JACKSON

The PNG Adventurous Training Guide 2017 by Reg Yates RFD, self published, Melbourne, February 2017. You can contact Reg Yates here

Download PNG Adventurous Training Guide by Reg Yates

RETIRED Australian Army Captain Reg Yates RFD, one of the most experienced trek leaders operating in Papua New Guinea, has produced a first-rate guide for people planning to walk through some of the most difficult and interesting country in PNG.

The 48-page guide is for experienced trekkers, familiar with walking in Papua New Guinea or who work with knowledgeable with PNG villagers, and for Australian Defence Force personnel.

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Past meets present in joyful & productive return to Simbu

Keith addresses Barengigl students and teachersKEITH JACKSON

REVISITING Simbu after 50 years last week, I was feted with a degree of celebrity I really didn’t merit.

That said, most proceedings were laced with profuse and jocular references to the time I was lost for 24 hours in the Yongomugl caves when my lamp failed and I couldn’t navigate the many branches and faults to find my out.

Yup - had to be rescued.

A few months prior to this drama, I had arrived in Kundiawa (population 200; 80 expatriates) in January 1964 having just turned 19.

Continue reading "Past meets present in joyful & productive return to Simbu" »


After an absence of half a century, it’s back to K-Town

Some of our hosts - Jack, Jimmy Drekore, Jimmy Awagl & Philip with the familyKEITH JACKSON

TOGETHER with Ingrid, Ben, Becky and Leilani – wonderful to do this together – I spent most of last week in the Papua New Guinea highlands which I had not seen for 50 years.

To try to condense this experience is ambitious, but it will give you a taste.

Flying into and out of the mountains is easy. Back then it was time-consuming and sometimes disquieting.

However, getting around by road, especially in Simbu Province, is punishing. The Highlands Highway – that critical arterial road serving something more than four million people as well as PNG’s rich agricultural heartland – is in appalling condition.

Continue reading "After an absence of half a century, it’s back to K-Town" »


Return to Mosbi – a place once known so well, now hardly at all

Mosbi sunset from Royal Papua Yacht ClubKEITH JACKSON

BACK in the 1960s – I know I’m showing my age – you could not live in Port Moresby and live your life in a bubble.

The town, as it was then, was utilitarian, confronting, pragmatic and, culturally, barely part of Papua New Guinea at all.

It was a transit stop between somewhere else and adventure. More Cairns than Kandep. And many of us colonials had little taste for it. We preferred the outstations and the bush.

All that’s changed. Now expats can live a life transiting between secure apartment compound, secure office block and secure yacht club all in a secure alarm-buttoned, back-to-base connected SUV.

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Sister town is doable, so why can’t Simbu government embrace it?

Francis NiiFRANCIS NII

Keith Jackson AM and Cr Ingrid Jackson are ready to advance discussions on a Kundiawa-Noosa sister town relationship, but do Simbu Administrator Joe Kunda Naur MBE and Governor Hon Noah Kool have the wisdom to embrace the concept for the benefit of the Simbu people?

This is particularly relevant as the whole concept falls within the provincial government’s own Tourism, Arts and Culture Policy launched in Kundiawa just a few months ago.

Last Tuesday, while Simbu Writers Association delegates were waiting in the corridor of Kondom Agaundo House in Kundiawa to have an audience with the Simbu Provincial Administrator, a follow up to the letter that we had delivered the week before, the email signal on my mobile phone triggered.

The email was from Keith and I was surprised and at the same time excited when I read it.

Continue reading "Sister town is doable, so why can’t Simbu government embrace it?" »


Simbu to receive KJ and Cr Ingrid - & what about a sister town?

Francis NiiFRANCIS NII

THE publisher of PNG Attitude and friend of Simbu and Papua New Guinea, Keith Jackson AM, and his family, are making a special trip to Kundiawa in early March.

Keith will be accompanied by his wife, Councillor Ingrid Jackson, son Ben Jackson, his partner Becky Finzel and their three-year old daughter Leilani.

Members of the Simbu Writers Association are well prepared for this visit and are urging the Simbu Provincial Government to officially receive them.

Keith and Ingrid will be travelling from Brisbane to Port Moresby where they will meet members of the PNG Attitude family.

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Government green lights construction of Paga Hill City

Paga Hill 'Tourism City' - the visionFREDDY MOU | Loop PNG | Edited

The PNG government has given the green light to investors in Paga Hill Tourism City to start implementing the project.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Tobias Kulang said the PNG cabinet has approved an incentive framework for the Paga Hill Estate.

“This bold move is demonstrative of the government’s strategy to pursue foreign investment, create jobs and stimulate economy,” Mr Kulang said.

He said that the Paga Hill Estate is attracting foreign investment with a memorandum of understanding already agreed with the Shenzhen Construction and Development Group partnering with the China Harbour Engineering Company and Covec to fund and construct a five-star hotel.

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Get in early before the tourism dollar turns PNG into a theme park

Sepik SpiritJON HOLMES | The Australian

“DO you think it will rain tonight?” I ask Joseph, the man with the gun. He looks up, beyond the mist clinging to the valley, doing its damnedest to conceal the river-ridden jungle that is to be our home for the next few days.

He sniffs the air in the same casual manner with which he hangs the rifle on his shoulder. “Will it rain?” he replies. “It depends on the weather.”

To be honest, the weather is the least of our worries. “Expect the unexpected” is the given (and best) travel advice for anyone visiting Papua New Guinea. It’s a country that’s casual about a few things, from plane timetables to customs regulations to automatic weapons.

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Things to know before moving to PNG from the USA

RabaulROSS CAMPBELL

THE prospect of moving to a new country can be exciting and daunting all at the same time. That’s why it is important to be sure that you are properly prepared.

Papua New Guinea is an excellent destination for a United States resident, but there are some things you should know before you decide to make the move.

You can learn these important details and prepare for your exciting new move by visiting Papua New Guinea as a tourist while taking time to learn about the beautiful area, the people, local housing and the many things to do for fun once you arrive as a resident.

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Making Port Moresby public transport safe for women & girls

Women ride a Meri Seif Bus in Port Moresby (UN Women-Marc Dozier)UN Women

FOR women, getting on a bus in Port Moresby meant an almost guaranteed experience of violence or harassment.

A scoping study conducted by UN Women in 2014 found that more than 90% of women and girls experienced some form of violence when accessing public transport - on buses, at bus stops, walking to and from stops, or in taxis.

This included verbal sexual remarks, inappropriate touching, and indecent exposure in terms of sexual violence, and also extortion, robbery, threats or intimidation.

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Airways Hotel included in best hotels of the world list

Airways & its DC3MEDIA RELEASE

AIRWAYS Hotel in Port Moresby has been named fifth in the Huffington Post review of top hotels.

Huffington Post contributor, travel pioneer and ‘father’ of modern adventure travel, Richard Bangs, has published a list of the top 10 hotels he’s experienced, selected for “being special, extreme in cosiness, service and that ineffable quality of heart.”

According to Bangs, Papua New Guinea is a special destination. He calls it “a country as diverse and bewitching as any on earth.”

“Things have improved [including] the signature hotel in the capital, The Airways, an oasis just a stone’s throw from the airport.

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Julie says 'thanks Australia for treating me as one of the writers'

Julie, never before seen the ocean, & DanielDANIEL & JULIE KUMBON

I HAVE been listening to my wife, Julie’s, daily prayers to God in the Enga language in the privacy of our hotel rooms in Noosa, Brisbane, Sydney and Cairns over the action-packed two weeks we were in Australia.

All this was made possible by the inaugural McKinnon-Paga Hill Development Company fellowship scheme, PNG Attitude and many other friends of Papua New Guinea.

One morning in Brisbane, I heard Julie plead with God to make Keith Jackson’s spinal operation successful and when we heard in Sydney that it had indeed gone well and that Keith was ready to go back to Noosa, Julie was elated and thanked God again that night.

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Cairns business anger after Qantas dumps Moresby flights

Cairns airportCairns Post

CAIRNS businesses have lashed out at Qantas for abandoning direct Cairns-Papua New Guinea flights.

Qantas announced last month that, due to high demand for flights to Bali, it would be reducing its domestic flights in regional areas.

This includes shifting its Cairns-Port Moresby flights to Brisbane-Port Moresby from the end of October in order to better serve the business market.

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Roads, bridges & sea links the key to effective aid delivery

Building the road to KarimuiFRANCIS NII

LAST week we read Lindsay Bond’s story of the opening of three bridges worth K139 million at Eroro, Girua and Ambogo in Oro Province, built with the support of Australian aid, and yesterday we read of the death of a mother of eight children in Dr Kevin Pondikou’s searingly personal piece.

These articles brought a million thoughts to my mind of what wonders Australian aid could have brought to Papua New Guinea had more attention been focused on building roads and bridges to link rural areas and urban centres.

Australia spent millions of dollars on her colony prior to independence and continues to spend $500 million annually even today, but why has this aid money not transformed the lives of the rural masses scattered across remote and mountainous terrain and on islands separated by often treacherous seas?

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PNG introduces new free 30-day tourist visa for Australians

Jerry AgusETB Travel News

PAPUA New Guinea has introduced a new tourist visa for Australians. Australian passport holders can now secure a 30-day free tourist visa on arrival.

The change in visa requirements was announced this week by the PNG cabinet and is the first time this option has been available to Australian visitors.

Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority CEO, Jerry Agus (pictured), said he is delighted at the news and sees the decision as an important step forward for the tourism industry.

“We wholeheartedly welcome this news,” Mr Agus said.

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Cook Islands look like a good model for Australia–PNG relations

Cook IslandsSIMON JACKSON

IT PROBABLY hasn’t crossed your mind, but the Cook Islands is a place definitely worth a visit.

I travelled there from Auckland but there’s also a direct flight from Sydney these days.

The Cooks is an interesting place. Not just because of the laid back island feel and warmth of the people, but for a better model of how Australia might treat Papua New Guinea.

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P&O vessel visits Conflict Islands for the first time

Conflict IslandsBRAD CROUCH

SOME people dream of buying an island. Australian Ian Gowrie-Smith bought an entire archipelago — sight unseen.

P&O Cruises Pacific Jewel has made history by becoming the first cruise ship to visit the remote Conflict Islands, putting the idyllic atoll — and their fascinating owner — briefly in the spotlight.

The 21 islands ranging from 1ha to 97 ha gathered in a pear shape around a sheltered lagoon are about 150km from Alotau at the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea.

With pristine reefs and abundant marine life, these serene remnants of an extinct volcano were named after British ship HMS Conflict which charted them in 1886.

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PNG government backflips on visa on arrival decision

TourismKEITH JACKSON

THE Papua New Guinean government is to reverse its decision not to grant visas on arrival to Australian tourists.

“It is an impediment to attracting tourists in the country,” said Tourism Minister Tobias Kulang

“We will withdraw our position and reinstate visa on arrival for our Australian friends when they arrive at Jackson’s international terminal.”

Mr Kulang said Peter O’Neill had taken the original decision but “this twist of decision was made in the best interest for the tourism industry in the country”.

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Dawn passage through the Dardanelles on MV Nautica

The eternal flameKEITH JACKSON

WE arise before dawn and we see the dark shape of land - the Aegean Sea is funnelling into the Dardanelles, just a narrow strait but with a name that triggers an emotional response in Australians.

In the half-light we see silhouetted on the rocky clifftop that marks the strait’s entrance four soaring columns of a massive monument and an oversized Turkish flag.

At about this time on 25 April 1915, 60,000 Australians and 18,000 New Zealanders traversed these waters to be landed on Gallipoli’s precipitous and lethal shore.

Over the next eight months until the Allies retreated, 33,000 Allied (Diggers, Kiwis, Tommies, French) troops were killed – as were 86,000 Turks.

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Tourism and tradition – can they co-exist in a modern PNG?

Enga dancersNATHAN LATI | Edited extracts

THE Engan dance, the Mali, is one of the traditional rituals that is gradually dying away due to non-recognition of its significance in the modern and traditional contexts.

Previously, the Mali was hosted for reasons that cannot match today’s purposes. Furthermore, the importance of the Mali from both modern and traditional perspective is not understood by majority of the Engans due to the current trend towards modernity and the weakening of culture, tradition and custom.

Currently, the Mali is one of the major tourist attractions in Enga and has gained popularity at the annual Enga Cultural Show with its Sili Muli, an all women Mali dance group.

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Road management is suffering in Papua New Guinea

Seismic issues are problematicMATTHEW DORNAN | PNG National Research Institute | Extract (Conclusion)

THE challenges faced by Papua New Guinea in managing its road network are shared with many other developing countries.

Road management, especially maintenance, has suffered from capacity constraints and underfunding.

Political incentives are important in explaining why successive governments have failed to allocate sufficient funding to road maintenance despite its positive economic return.

Development partners in response have advocated the commercialisation of road management through the establishment of an autonomous road agency whose road maintenance activities are funded by fees collected from the road sector.

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Successful visit to Wewak by P&O cruise ship ‘Pacific Aria’

Pacific Aria in Wewak, 22 Feb 2016 (Mateos Alois)MATEOS ALOIS

HUNDREDS of passengers came ashore from MS Pacific Aria when it anchored in Wewak Harbour on Monday, providing the town with a great boost.

And more than 500 passengers took the paid tour options - Wewak highlights, Maur Village and the ‘Japanese surrender’ tour – pumping even more money into the local economy.

And the response from our visitors? It was great, with the ship rating Wewak’s services and tours as excellent.

Among the passengers were former Wewak residents. including Mr Green, formerly a branch manager with the PNG Banking Corporation, and also the wife of former East Sepik district commissioner.

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PNG’s innovative surf management plan hailed a success

Pic by surfertodayKEITH JACKSON

PAPUA New Guinea is putting its surf management plan into operation. The good news is that it works, reports the Surfer Today website.

PNG has developed a rulebook to minimise the impact of surf tourism on the fragile ecosystem, on local communities and on the quality of the surfing experience.

"PNG is a land of contrasts, transparent blue waters, ancient traditions, and multiple isolated islands," reports Surfer Today, adding that it's important to keep it alive, healthy, and natural. Couldn't agree more

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Lagging PNG tourism looks at changing international perceptions

American tourist videos a singsingRADIO NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL

THE head of Papua New Guinea Tourism, Peter Vincent, says the country can do a lot more to realise the potential of its tourism industry.

Figures released this month by the World Travel and Tourism Council show PNG is ranked last of 184 countries surveyed in terms of the economic benefits from tourism.

PNG holds only 10% of the Pacific regional tourism market share by contrast to Fiji which holds an impressive 41%.

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‘Pacific Eden’ will open up PNG cruising grounds from Cairns

Pacific Eden at dawn in Sydney NarbourNICK DALTON | The Cairns Post

CAIRNS’ proximity to untouched beaches and pristine areas of Papua New Guinea has been a deciding factor in P&O Cruises basing their Pacific Eden in the port next year.

The 1,300-passenger ship makes its maiden voyage under P&O’s flag on Tuesday at 7am and will be based in Cairns from September to November next year and 2017, bringing a $16 million economic boost.

Six of Eden’s nine itineraries from Cairns next year feature Papua New Guinea while, in 2017, nine out of 10 visit PNG ports including the first international short break, a four-night cruise from Cairns to Alotau.

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Zoos, galleries & museums: All around the world in one place

DanielDANIEL KUMBON

DO you by any chance remember Lobo and his song ‘My first time’? It was popular among young people in the 1970s.

I recall students at Lae Technical College playing it over and over in the cool evenings under the big rain trees there.

The song stuck with me. It reminds me of ‘first time’ experiences in my lifetime. Like when I attended my first tanim het courting session. Or when I saw my first elephant in 1972at the Mt Hagen Show.

Later I was to see more than an elephant. On a visit to a zoo in Cleveland, Ohio, I added to this lions, zebras, giraffes, bears, monkeys (including two gorillas), camels, tigers, hippopotamuses (hippopotami?), llamas, kangaroos and many more.

I also saw different species of birds, fish and plants - all for the first time.

To be honest, I was amazed I could see all this from around the world in the one place.

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Cape Town's dichotomy: one part splendour; four parts despond

Santa SaxKEITH JACKSON

BY the time your typical white resident of Cape Town has moved into the third sentence, some variation of the word ‘safety’ has already arisen in the conversation.

The same applies most everywhere else in South Africa.

Stern warnings are offered about the danger of wandering about after dusk, or displaying items of value at any time. Advice is proffered.

It needs to be, as some overseas visitors are their own worst enemy. Like giving their debit card to a friendly soul offering to help manipulate a local ATM machine and who absconds swiftly with both card and currency.

Continue reading "Cape Town's dichotomy: one part splendour; four parts despond" »


South Africa: In a land of hope, dashed expectations erode the joy

A marine pilot being transferred to a cruise ship by helicopter off DurbanKEITH JACKSON

AS I write these notes, Nautica is edging its way a mile or so off the hilly South African coast between Durban and Port Elizabeth.

The sea is officially described as ‘very rough’, and the swell soars along at more than 20 feet.

The constant pitching and periodic sudden shudders have been enough to subdue most passengers. But at seven o’clock in the morning, with the sun still quite low, the scene is one of spectacular beauty.

We motor along under an almost cloudless sky, close enough to shore to observe the continuous string of towns and villages in a landscape that is green and treeless. Regular bursts of spray arc away from the ship’s bow, each shower offering a transient rainbow.

Makes it bloody hard to type, though; fingers bouncing off keys.

Coming into Durban's narrow channel two days ago, in seas almost as hostile as those this morning, the pilot was helicoptered to the ship and rappelled to the upper deck in a remarkable act of flying and seamanship.

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To Hell-Ville and back - rhum, revolution & launderettes

Arman_Manookian_-_'Men_in_an_Outrigger_Canoe_Headed_for_Shore',_oil_on_canvas,_c._1929KEITH JACKSON

JUST as well they don’t allow guns on this ship otherwise the launderette on Deck 7 would be a war zone.

There are two critical governors that human society (that is you and me and any number which is more than us) finds particularly beneficial even when we bridle against them.

At the top is authority. And, in support, providing authority with some structure, there are rules.

There are some places on earth where these totems of civilisation are not present. And one is is the Nautica launderette where there is no authority and no rules.

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It’s Saturday, we must be in Zanzibar

Zanzibar portKEITH JACKSON

THE lead singer of super group Queen (‘We are the Champions’) was born in Zanzibar of Parsee parents. They baptised him Farrokh Bulsara. Freddie Mercury and fame were still to come.

But – even though for a modest fee you can take the Freddie Mercury tour on Madagascar - the locals have no idea where he really lived.

In fact, the American lady taking breakfast at the table next to me on the deck had no idea where she really was.

“Where are we now?” she asked plaintively. “Zan-zi-bar!” came the irritated response. Clearly not the first time her husband had fielded the question.

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Like PNG, the asfrut republic fails to leverage its opportunities

Coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica) aka asfrutKEITH JACKSON

EVERY nation has a unique contribution to offer the world, and in the Seychelles it happens to be coco de mer – which for the purposes of this letter I shall call asfrut (pictured).

When you walk along Independence Avenue, the main street of the Seychelles’ capital, Victoria, you won’t see asfrut.

Asfrut grows wild but nothing in Independence Avenue is wild except the traffic. The town centre may be only two blocks – but presents an endless stream of vehicles.

Victoria’s tourist markets are somewhat removed from visitor traffic and therefore almost totally lacking in customers – a missed opportunity indeed as there were two ocean liners in port.

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A few trumped up charges, a crackdown & a sharp right turn

President Abdulla YameenKEITH JACKSON

WELL bugger me! These strong man crackdowns always happen at the worst possible times.

Just hours out of the Maldives and looking forward to a three decade delayed reunion with my Maldivian friends, the skipper of Nautica executes a change of course from south-east to south-west and we’re headed for Mahe not Malé.

It seems that yesterday the usurper president Abdulla Yameen (pictured), who tossed out a democratically elected leader a couple of years back, declared a 30-day state of emergency ahead of a planned anti-government rally by the country's opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The declaration gave Yameen’s security forces sweeping powers to arrest anyone they don’t like, er, who they think may be a suspect.

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No deck quoits here, Richard, we're too busy repelling boarders

MV NauticaKEITH JACKSON

RICHARD Jones,  urger without parallel on the long concourse of my personal history, reminds me bluntly that the last report I made from MV Nautica, now 10 days into a five-week cruise, had me confined to my cabin with an ear complaint.

I travel mainly by sea because of an arthritic body that demands comfort and the sleep apnoea that requires a power supply to keep me breathing through the night. So a degree of technological reliability is prescribed these days as I move somewhat gingerly through time and space.

Loyal readers are used to me diarising travel experiences  - banal though they be. I contemplate a memoir. Working title - The most tedious traveller in the world, ever.

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Lost and found & talking space travel at Cambridge University

KingsCollegeChapelWestDANIEL KUMBON

HERE was I from Papua New Guinea sitting in a coach with colleagues from 11 other countries on our way to Cambridge University, one of the oldest and most renowned educational institutions in the United Kingdom.

It was founded in 1209 and has 32 colleges. Of particular interest to us journalists was Magdalene College, where we headed straight for the Pepys Library to view archival material on the development of shorthand.

But I was not there to hear the Assistant Librarian give the briefing because, like any fool who strays from the main group, I was lost in the grounds of this ancient university with students from all over the world.

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Dry docked in the desert & the excesses of Peter O’Neill

Freighter approaching Abu DhabiKEITH JACKSON

I write this aboard MV Nautica which is tied up alongside in Abu Dhabi, the richest of, and something of a banker for, the other Gulf emirates because of its vast oil wealth. Outside, the thermometer has just passed the 100 degree Fahrenheit mark.

The long voyage that will take us to Cape Town has just begun and at this first port of call I’ve consigned myself to my cabin, not because the desert sand doesn’t have its attractions but because of my need to visit the ship’s doctor with what turned out to be an inflamed ear drum.

Dr Florante Bejar is a pleasant Filipino, a rotund young man, and we joke that the great thing about impaired hearing is that there are some discussions you’d rather not listen to.

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A period away from my desk but it’s business nearly as usual

Keith in IstanbulKEITH JACKSON

TONIGHT Ingrid and I depart these sun-drenched Queensland shores for Dubai, where we will meet up with MV Nautica for a long cruise along India’s coast across to my old Maldives stamping ground and on to Africa.

The five-week voyage will conclude with a few days in Cape Town from where an arduous string of flights will, 35 hours later, deposit us in Orange NSW for the wedding of Ingrid’s first son, Evan, a medical student.

This period away from my desk will, of course, have an impact on the production of PNG Attitude although, on previous sojourns afloat or in hospital or on long treks, I have somehow managed to produce the blog regularly and, as usual, my email remains open to you.

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Our grand adventure was to fly over those mountains

Junker tri-motor at WauDANIEL KUMBON

MY dream of soaring into the blue skies of Kandep in the belly of an aeroplane began with the recruitment of young men straight from the village to work on rubber, copra and cocoa plantations on the coast.

How I wished to look down upon the two great swamplands of Kandep with their many lakes and rivers teeming with wildlife, then disappear over the mountains to distant places.

I am sure, had I been old enough, I would have allowed myself to be recruited under the indentured labour scheme that operated during the colonial period.

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A trip to Alexishafen – the historic ghost town of Momase

Alexishafen_KathedraleAMANDA YEOU

ON the dawn of National Repentance Day, Madang was blessed with rain. Such a wonderful blessing, I thought as I got out of bed and packed my bag.

On 26 August, the Divine Word University lecturers and students left for Alexishafen to attend a Catholic Bible study session hosted by FrJohn Ryan SVD.

I was in the group which boarded the bus at 8:30 am arriving in Alexishafen, about 25 km north of Madang, around 9:15.

Alexishafen is an old Catholic Mission Station established by Society of the Divine Word missionaries.

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