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TOURISTS BUOY PNG’S MOUNT HAGEN CULTURE SHOW 500 visitors, brighten Kagamuga shop owners

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier,Aug. 18, 2010) – than 500 tourists and around 100,000 local show goers entered the gates of Kagamuga Showground during the 49th Coca Cola Mt Hagen cultural show over the weekend.

Tourist figures increased from previous years, thus boosting the local economy.

Show committee chairman Max Kumbamong attributed the increase in tourist numbers to proper marketing and advertising on the international market.

Most of the tourists were from European countries, especially Italy leading with 50, while others came from Germany, Britain, Canada, USA, Spain, France, China, Japan and Greece.

According to a show committee source, local tour operators, hotels, bus owners, car rental companies and traditional artifact vendors could have made a windfall of around K1.5 million to K2 million from the tourists.

It is estimated the show society could have made K150,000 from tourist badge sales alone.

While officially closing the show yesterday, Mr Kumbamong thanked tour operators who had worked hard to bring in overseas tourists.

He also acknowledged sponsor Coca Cola who have backed the show for eight consecutive years.

However Mr Kumbamong expressed dissatisfaction that not many men participants were seen in this year’s show.

He said most of the 90 singsing groups were dominated by women.

He asked more men and children to participate in next year’s show which is expected to be the biggest and better as it will be the show’s 50th anniversary.

He said it was important for children to inherit our unique cultures to keep the traditions alive.

Franca Cucco, a tourist from Italy, took to the grandstand and thanked the organisers and dancers for a colourful and unique festival that was on display.

She said she was delighted by the beauty of the festival and the rhythms of the kundu drums.

"This show surpasses our expectations," Ms Cucco said

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