"ERASE RISK AREAS FROM TOURIST MAPS": PNG GOVERNMENT TOLD

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 5, 2000 – The National)---Tourism operator Peter Barter has called on the Government to act on the growing threat to tourism in the country, following reports that tourists were attacked on the Kokoda Trail last weekend.

Mr. Barter said the Government should make some parts of PNG off limits for tourists and erase these areas from promotional brochures.

"The problem with such incidents is that they do not just affect the Kokoda Trail. The media in Australia and elsewhere will generalize, which will continue to exasperate the already critical situation in the perception, real or otherwise, that Papua New Guinea is a dangerous place to visit," Mr. Barter said in a statement yesterday.

''There are other parts of PNG which are considered unsafe for travel. It is time the Government, through the Tourism Promotion Authority, placed such areas of known danger off the 'tourist map'.

"This effectively can be done by not publicizing the regions in brochures and other marketing projects, and advising Air Niugini offices and tour operators that caution should be practiced in compiling itineraries so as not to include areas or facilities where there is a high risk or an above average crime rate.

"If necessary, isolate completely provinces if they are dangerous for tourists to visit. This may sound rather radical, but it is necessary if we want to put a halt to the decline in tourists visiting PNG," he said.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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