PNG TO SEEK TOURISM FUNDS FROM AUSTRALIA

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Wants $4.6 million to develop master plan

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 20, 2008) –Culture and Tourism Minister, Charles Abel, will hold further talks in Australia next month for possible donor funding for the implementation of the National Tourism Master Plan (NTMP) 2007-2017.

Mr Abel said following last month’s PNG-Australia Ministerial Forum, the two governments had signed a framework for bilateral cooperation in tourism, which paved the way for both parties to improve and encourage greater interaction, collaboration and co-operation in the tourism sector.

Mr Abel said as part of the framework, Australian Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism Martin Ferguson, agreed to assist source donor funding or major projects identified for implementation in the NTMP.

He said the masterplan identified PGK12 million [US$4.6 million] over three years from donors to implement the projects which aimed to achieve sustainable tourism development and specifically address poverty alleviation. This represents a shortfall for the TPA budget. The balance and majority of the budget comes from the PNG Government.

Mr Abel will also discuss the possibility of Australia providing technical assistance to strengthen PNG laws on protecting culture and the arts.

"The framework lays the foundation for grater collaboration and co-operation between our two countries and I believe PNG stands to gain more from our developed neighbours, especially in the area of culture and tourism," he said. Mr Abel said these also included areas such as sustainable tourism development, regulation and legislation of tourism activities, major tourism projects, as well as protection and preservation of the natural and cultural resources as sites for tourist attraction.

The minister said areas of co-operation under the framework encouraged consultation between government bodies, training institutions and industry groups in the field of tourism in both countries to enable broad ranging co-operation between these groups.

Mr Abel will meet with his Australian counterpart in Canberra after returning from the South Pacific Tourism Organisation meeting in Fiji early next month.

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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