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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 3) – Tourism is becoming serious business in Papua New Guinea and a master plan to guide the industry to returning profitable results [is being working on].

More than 50 stakeholders representing the PNG Tourism Industry Association, Dive Industry Association, Chamber of Commerce, airlines, non government organisations, donors, provincial tourism bureaus and key government departments as well as individual operators took part in a strategic planning workshop recently to discuss the tourism master plan, a roadmap for tourism development in the country over the next 10 years.

The draft of the Master plan will be available in August and is sure to be completed this October.

Some 400 participants in the tourism sector took the opportunity to discuss the proposed vision of the master plan and the proposed strategies in the key areas of transport and infrastructure, human resource development, marketing, environment, and culture, institutions and coordination and investment and product development.

Ross Hopkins of TRIP Consultants facilitated the workshop and is also preparing the master plan with funding from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

"Experience shows that those countries which are successful are able to develop a clear strategy for the tourism sector and then ensure that this is implemented at the highest level," Mr Hopkins said. "Co-ordination across government is vital as tourism touches on many areas which cannot be resolved by one single agency."

He said some countries introduced additional competition into the airline sector, which has stimulated demand and increased the level of arrivals. The master plan is the first of its kind the tourism sector has come up with to help the country tap into the vast potential of the industry.

July 3, 2006

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