PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 5) - It’s great news that a major cruise ship is to enter our waters and to sample our tourism wares.

The Statendam will visit Lae port for one day early next year.

The announcement by the Morobe Tourism Bureau, under the chairmanship of veteran businessman Muttu Gware, must gladden the hearts of business people in the second city.

Lae has had a tough few years, with potholes and surges in crime dominating talk and the prospect of a major cruise ship visiting the town will lift spirits.

Lae is truly a gateway to many interesting and exciting parts of our nation. If only we can make an impressive show to the ship’s passengers and crew, it could be a blessing to our fragile and sensitive tourism industry.

There are many people in Lae, the Highlands, Madang and the Sepik who can charm visitors with their natural welcomes . . . if only we can get them out of our urban concrete jungles. The Holland-American Cruises ship is a major chance to create a good impression.

With one good experience, the word will spread.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Lae, Madang and Rabaul were thriving on cruise ships. And such visits are not just a boon to the major companies.

They can provide jobs and revenue to many grassroots business people, those who provide clean mini-buses for transport, carvers and weavers with their handcrafts traditional dance troupes and guides to local places of interest.

But we must improve our performance in the field of customer satisfaction.

We must collaborate to ensure that we provide interesting, value for money services and do so with helpful, clean and well-spoken guides and assistants.

If we do not do that, the visitors will not return and they will not spread the word of a worthwhile venue.

July 6, 2005

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