PAPUA New Guinea’s tourism sector has got a boost as a series of travel publications have listed the country as a must see place to visit, the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) said.

PNG took out the Gold Award for ‘Top Emerging Destination PNG took out the Gold Award for ‘Top Emerging Destination’ at the United Kingdom travel magazine Wanderlust’s Reader’s Travel Award Winners for 2015 on 29 January, the TPA announced.

PNG Tourism Promotion Authority, UK marketing manager Chris Lee said he was thrilled at receiving the award on behalf of PNG, acknowledging the UK team and the entire TPA organisation.

TPA said PNG’s travel destination presence was on the rise in North America, with the New York Times Travel magazine listing PNG on its top 52 places to go in 2015, where it made an entry at number 29.

PNG’s appeal and lure being remoteness, mega cruise ship tours and successful eco-lodges to suit the growing number of environment conscious travellers, TPA said.

Travel publisher Lonely Planet also listed PNG on its top new travel experiences for 2015, highlighting village home-stays at Tufi in the Oro Province as a must for travellers after a unique and authentic experience.

The first opportunity to stay with a PNG tribe had gained a listing on the online accommodation marketplace Airbnb.

“For several years homestay opportunities were loosely organised when travellers expressed interest locally, but the ability to pre-plan an authentic adventure with the Korafe tribe will undoubtedly be a game changer as these far-flung communities further extend the welcome mat in earnest,” Lonely Planet said.

“To compensate for the fact that none of the households have computers let alone electric power, all bookings are funnelled through the local diving resort, which vets space for travellers and helps arrange canoe transfers.”

PNG TPA marketing director Alice Kuaningi said it was wonderful to hear of this success.

“The Travel Award and our growing recognition in the international travel scene is largely the result of our destination marketing offices that are passionate as well as hardworking in their promotion of PNG within their markets,” she said.

“We are extremely proud of what our country is achieving and we commend our officers both here and abroad, our tourism industry and those of us in our nation who strive to make visitors feel welcome and who positively encourage visitors to our country.”