IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with the Tourism Promotion Authority of Papua New Guinea, says new research shows developing niche market tourism has the potential to attract an extra 40,000 tourists to Papua New Guinea, contributing $286 million annually by 2027.
The scenario is part of highlights from an assessment into tourism demand in Papua New Guinea, which IFC launched in conjunction with the results of the 2017 International Visitor Survey (IVS).
The findings show that last year PNG had 86,403 air visitors, who spent around $205 million dollars. Sixty percent of those visitors traveled to the provinces in 2017. Currently, business travelers make up the highest proportion of people arriving by air in Papua New Guinea, but the research shows holiday tourists are the biggest spenders, outlaying $2,859 per trip.
“With holiday makers to Papua New Guinea making up only about a quarter of all visitors, it’s clear the country is lagging behind its regional competitors, Fiji and Vanuatu, where tourists account for 75 percent of all visitors,” said John Vivian, IFC Resident Representative to Papua New Guinea. “Greater investment can help Papua New Guinea boost holiday arrivals and close that gap, increasing revenue, diversifying the economy, and spreading the benefits to rural areas where tourists like to travel.”
The highlights of the demand assessment show how Papua New Guinea could better target tourists from high value niche-markets, including cultural tourism, soft adventure, birdwatching, diving and historical tourism. Collectively, these markets are worth over $970 billion dollars globally of which Papua New Guinea’s share is about $93.5 million.
“Both government and the private sector will need to make long-term investments in infrastructure, capacity building, product development and marketing to realize this change,” said Jerry Agus, CEO of Tourism Promotion Authority. “If we do this, Papua New Guinea has the potential to become a world-class destination over the next ten years.”
IFC’s tourism project in Papua New Guinea, supported by Australia and New Zealand under the Papua New Guinea Partnership, is focused on supporting the development of tourism business, improving tourism-related conditions, and helping attract investment in the tourism sector.