THE PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) is celebrating the news that Papua New Guinea has been selected as one of National Geographic Traveller’s 21 “Best of the World Destinations” for 2017.

TPA chief Executive officer Mr Jerry Agus said National Geographic is the world’s top traveller’s magazine and for PNG to get its endorsement as one of the world’s best ‘must see’ destinations in 2017 was simply awesome.

Mr Agus said despite the many challenges in marketing and promoting PNG to the world as a desired tourism destination, the efforts by TPA and our tourism industry partners was slowly but surely paying dividends on the world stage.

Cultural capital

“To be also named by National Geographic as one of the best cultural destinations in the world further enhances PNG’s profile as the cultural capital of world,” he said.

“We all know our unique and diverse cultures and traditions are a major tourism attraction and such glowing global endorsements from National Geographic should only encourage us as a people and a nation to continue to strengthen and maintain our cultures and traditions.”

Mr Agus said the challenge now was for TPA to work closely with key stakeholders such as the National Cultural Commission and the national and provincial show organising committees to continue to promote authentic PNG cultures and customs.

“For instance, we have to be strict and discourage our people using PVC pipes as kundu drums and strips of plastic for grass skirts,” he added.

Mr Agus said the national government has increased the TPA’s public investment program budget for 2017 and the Authority was looking to invest heavily in infrastructure and product development in 2017.

Tourism potential

He said there was a lot tourism potential out in the provinces and districts which TPA has identified but the Authority needed to work closely with the provincial governments and the local communities to development these products to meet international standards.

He said PNG was not a mass tourism destination where tourists sit on the beach sunbath and enjoy pina colada but an adventure destination offering niche products like diving, fishing, surfing, trekking and culture among others and that what National Geographic has recognised.

Mr Agus thanked PNG TPA’s Destination marketing representatives in its primary markets of Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, Europe, North America and China for their commitment to promoting PNG to the world.

He also thanked the tourism industry members for their unwavering support and commitment to promote PNG.