PNG’s tourism sector is set to rebound after the impact of COVID-19. The PNG Business Council highlighted that PNG’s tourism and hospitality sector has been the hardest hit throughout the pandemic with a third of businesses reporting that the first half revenue for 2021 was down more than 50 per cent on projected revenue.
In February 2022 PNG reopened its borders for international travel. The reopening of borders has seen a slow but steady increase in the number of travelers into PNG with a flow of visitors mostly from Australia - PNG’s closest neighbor. PNG’s prime tourism experience, the historic Kokoda Track relies heavily on Australian tourists for its viability. There is also visitor demand and opportunities from other markets including Europe and the United States. PNG has a loyal following from international visitors who have been to the country before and continue to return to experience the diverse culture and environment.
Adventure travel is the largest niche market. Approximately 238 million travelers spend over USD469 billion globally, with 15,400 of them visiting PNG annually. Cultural tourism, too, represents a large sector of the market. While 184 million travelers spend over USD452 billion globally every year, 11,000 of those tourists travel to PNG annually. PNG has a spectacular potential for experience-based adventure tourism, diving, ocean and river cruising, World War 2-themed destinations such as the Kokoda Track, and cultural events like the Goroka Show. The industry has recently focused on agritourism to help diversify and increase profits. Local farmers, tourism operators, accommodation providers, restaurants, academic institutions like the University of PNG, Chambers of Commerce, and Government agencies including the departments of Tourism, Agriculture and Trade have all been working together to discuss priorities, challenges, and opportunities for a National Agritourism Policy. Development partners continue to support this endeavor and other strategic steps to benefit the tourism industry
Adventure, cultural, and historical tourism, are three strong areas for potential growth in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Opportunities for PNG include hotels, cruise lines, tour services including hot air balloon and helicopter options, and arts, crafts, and souvenir retailing. The new PNG Tourism Development Plan 2022-2026 provides fresh impetus for the sector to rebound and highlights the above opportunities in detail.
The Goroka Show is a significant cultural event in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea (PNG). It is also the longest running annual cultural festival in Papua New Guinea drawing thousands of tourists to the country every September during the nation’s week-long Independence Day celebrations.
- PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA)
- PNG Investment Promotion Authority (PNGIPA)
- Business Council PNG