THE PAPUA NEW GUINEA National Government’s tourism hub concept for East New Britain made its first overseas sales pitch to Cairns, Australia.

The Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA) said local tourism operators from East New Britain and New Ireland were accompanied by officials from PNGTPA, East New Britain Provincial Government and national flag carrier Air Niugini to meet with Australian tourism wholesalers for a one-off trade workshop at the Pacific Hotel on 17 April.

The marketing workshop is the third in a series of workshops being organised by TPA through its Sydney office to improve local tour operators’ knowledge of the demands of the Australian market, the organisation said.

Two workshops have already been held in Kokopo.

TPA chief executive officer Peter Vincent said a more comprehensive marketing strategy was being developed for ENB and the New Guinea Islands region in general.

The present marketing activities were targeted specifically at increasing the number of tourists on the direct Air Niugini service between Cairns and Tokua, he said.

“We are confident we can increase tourist numbers on the Cairns/Tokua service and that is why we need to get our local tour operators to go out there and appreciate the requirements of the Australia wholesalers,” he said.

TPA and the East New Britain Provincial Government have an existing memorandum of agreement (MoA) where 1.5 million kina has been provided to the TPA to market and promote the Cairns/Tokua service through the TPA’s Australian office.

PNG TPA said as part of the MoA, it has already completed a photography assignment of major attractions in the province which will be uploaded online.

Stand out images will also be plastered on billboards in the Cairns central area enticing Australians and other overseas backpackers to make the two-hour flight to enjoy the beauty of East New Britain and the New Guinea Islands, PNGTPA said.

Among the tourist sites promoted by the TPA in East New Britain are The Vunapope Catholic Mission, the Malmaluan Lookout, Japanese barge tunnels and the Duke of York Islands.