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By Philip Dowa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 5) – About 1,000 international tourists on cruise with the Cunard Shipping Lines are exected to be on hand for the Biang-Ngayam cultural festival in the Papua New Guinea city of Lae in April.

The festival, an initiative to boost tourism and promote local culture, is spearheaded by the Lae corporate sector, together with the Morobe provincial administration.

Lae corporate sector spokesman Fred Cook said the cultural show celebration would coincide with the Remembrance Day, which falls in April.

This would be the second attempt to host an all Morobean cultural festival to promote local tourism after the first initiative was launched in September 1998. However, it was shelved later due to financial difficulties.

Mr. Cook said the four-day festival is aimed at creating an avenue where the people from nine districts of Morobe display their traditional customs and help preserve the province’s cultural heritage.

"The festival will provide an opportunity for traditional sing-sing, arts and craft display, the introduction of the Morobe Queen competition and many other activities," Mr. Cook said. He added that each district would decorate a float which best manifest and replicate the distinctive culture of the district.

Mr. Cook said the cultural exhibits would be divided into three main areas — Morobe district booth, commercial booth, demonstration pavilion and the performance stage.

He said that the corporate sponsorships would consist of manufacturing firms, trading shops, tourism and hospitality establishments in Morobe province and other business houses.

Meanwhile, a committee member, John Blake from the Lae International Travel agency, has contributed a computer to the Division of Culture and Tourism with the Department of Morobe towards the preparation for the festival. Mr. Blake said the computer was to help assist the provincial government to host the festival.

Other members of the committee include Nelly McClay, the lecturers from the Hospitality and Tourism Department at Lae Technical College, the provincial programs advisor for Sports, Culture and Tourism, Nane Tomala, and the Morobe provincial administrator, Manasupe Zurenuoc.

January 6, 2006

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