PNG TOURISM FUNDS IDLE IN TRUST ACCOUNT

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Government calls for proposals to develop tourism

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 3, 2008) - Nearly PGK2 million [US$802,000] to develop culture and tourism activities in Papua New Guinea has been sitting unused for the past six months in a trust account at Waigani.

Minister for Culture and Tourism Charles Abel revealed this at the 11th Mamose governors conference last Friday in Salamaua, Huon Gulf district, while presenting a check for PGK50,000 [US$20,000] to develop Black Cat Trail between Salamaua and Wau.

Mr. Abel has called on all culture and tourism promoters and developers to document and compile proposals and submit them to make use of the funds.

He said the master plan for the Black Cat Skin Diwai track was documented and compiled.

The launching was held recently at Lae International Hotel and an initial funding for the track worth PGK70,000 was given.

Abel said the Kokoda Track alone had attracted 6,000 tourists this year.

"If we want to further promote and market tourism in the country, we have to change our behaviors, characters and attitudes," he said. "The tourism and culture business is a total community participation venture and it benefits all.

"Why are we killing ourselves committing hold-ups and hijacking our visitors?" Abel asked. "If Salamaua local level government leaders and communities are serious about developing their two significant historical sites, they must wake up from their slumber," Morobe Governor Luther Wenge said.

Community leaders and people should work collectively with the Government to introduce a product to attract tourists, he added.

Mr. Wenge also accepted a petition from the Salamaua people to develop Black Cat Trail and build a sea wall to protect historical sites at Salamaua, the former colonial administrative centre of Morobe.

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