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By Mal Taime

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 18) –The number of tourists attending this year’s Enga Cultural Show in Papua New Guinea has dropped and this has painted a bad image for the Enga Province unlike past cultural shows.

Enga tourism culture and commerce adviser Margaret Potane told the Highlands Post that only 60 tourists attended last weekend’s event.

Potane said the culture of the Enga people had the capacity to attract more tourists to the show.

"Despite that, the attendance of the local audience was very good, with people packing both inner and outer fence to watch the attractive and colorful show," she said.

Potane said people traveled as far as from New Ireland, Morobe, Eastern Highlands, Chimbu, Southern and Western Highlands provinces to watch the show.

The three-day show started last Friday and ended on Sunday afternoon.

It was held at the Mommers Oval in the heart of Wabag town.

"The reason for the drop in tourists is because we have clashed with the Mt Hagen Cultural Show and the other minor reason was because of the tribal fight publicity in the media, which has put fear into the minds of tourists," she said.

Potane said this year’s show was more attractive than the past because of the display of local orchids, rituals, traditional fire making, building traditional bridges and salt making, and 30 different singsing groups.

She said the singsing groups that participated were from Morobe, Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands and groups from six districts from Enga itself.

Potane said Milne Bay’s "tapioka" dance group could not make it although they had registered.

"The culture is starting to fade away and that’s why we want the children to preserve it through such events as cultural shows," she said.

Meanwhile, Porgera Gold Mine manager Brad Gordon, who officially opened the event, described the show as a very enjoyable event.

Gordon presented a K10,000 check to the show committee.

Other leaders who were available at the opening of the show included Enga Governor Peter Ipatas, Provincial Administrator Dr Samson Amean, Highlands Divisional police commander Geoffrey Vaki, provincial police commander Thomas Korahan and suspended Wabag MP Samuel Abal.

August 19, 2004

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