A tourism operator in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands and Hela is concerned about the raising of the travel advisory to a Level Four in the two provinces.
Pauline Grove, the director of Trans Niugini Tours (TNT), one of the biggest tour and hotel operators, said it was bad for the tourism industry, The National reports.
The Level Four “no travel” advisory puts Southern Highlands and Hela in the same category as countries such as North Korea, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
Grove said the United States State Department and the British High Commission had raised the travel advisory for Hela and Southern Highlands to that level.
“This means tourists are afraid to travel here and they cannot get insurance coverage to travel to PNG with this advisory in place and that is very sad,” she said.
TNT operates the Ambua Lodge in Hela, a popular tourist destination and home of the Huli people. The Huli’s yellow and red faces are the face of PNG tourism internationally,” Grove said.
She questioned why Hela was ranked with these overseas countries.
“How many tourists have been harmed in Hela? We don’t know of anyone and this is sad,” she said.
“We will not have visitors come here.”
Grove claimed that Air Niugini had also cancelled flights to Tari indefinitely.
“Air Niugini tells us that they are not flying into Tari because the National Airport Corporation has not cut trees at the ends of the runway,” she said.
“However, Tari Airport is still open.
“What will happen with the Apec if these advisories are still in place? Will delegates travel to PNG, said Grove.”