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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 27) – The Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority says it will pay accommodation costs for 13 private tourism operators from PNG to attend a four-day partnership conference in Fijj in February.

The Pacific Tourism Investment Conference, scheduled Feb. 1 to Feb. 4, is being organized by ProInvest in collaboration with the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat, South Pacific Tourism Organization, (SPTO), and the Pacific and Asian Travel Association.

ProInvest is a program of the Group of African Caribbean and Pacific states and the European Commission for the promotion of investment and technology transfer to the ACP countries. It operates through the strengthening of ACP intermediary and professional organizations and support to the development of company partnerships.

TPA board chairman Sasa Zibe said the board made the decision to underwrite the travel costs because the benefits from this meeting would be enormous for PNG tourism.

Mr Zibe said the 13 project proponents are mainly small to medium tourism operators from across PNG and are attending the conference.

Mr. Zibe said ProInvest tries to create an enabling environment for viable tourism project proponents to meet potential partners and investors which our local project owners don’t have the capacity to arrange or do not stand any chance of meeting.

Mr. Zibe said the key activity would be the one-to-one business meetings between the project proponents and possible investors.

The project proponents will sell their respective projects and provide in-depth details of its commercial viability.

Mr. Zibe said if the partners or the investors are convinced and satisfied with the project, they will enter into a mutual agreement.

If a project attracts an investor or a partner, the European Union via ProInvest, will provide some money to arrange for other logistics to enter into formal agreements.

Mr. Zibe said a team of experts have screened investment opportunities in all the Pacific Islands, resulting in the identification of over 100 tourism projects - ranging from eco-resort development to water based activities and from renewable energy projects to beach resorts in the Pacific.

PNG was fortunate to have 13 projects identified and listed for this meeting.

He said this was the first time for small PNG operators to be exposed to such an investment and partnership opportunity, whereby international tourism investors are keen to enter into partnership with international organizations for mutual advantage in one of the world’s fastest growing holiday markets.

Mr. Zibe said the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority strongly believes that all of the 13 projects are commercially viable.

Therefore, there is a high possibility of luring investors to PNG from this partnership meeting in Fiji.

He said tourism in PNG will only gain momentum and move forward if our marketing and promotional activities are complimented by tangible investments in tourism industry.

December 28, 2004

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