- Tourism in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guineais fledgling but there are many attractions for the potential visitor. These include culture, markets, festivals, diving, surfing, hiking, fishingand the unique flora and fauna. Each year about 70 000 tourists visit Papua.Fact|date=November 2007
In April 1883, James Burns and Robert Philp began a trading partnership, originally named the "Burns Philp & Company Limited" [ Douglas, N. and Douglas, N. (1996) "Tourism in the Pacific: Historical factors" in Hall, C.M. and Page, S.J. (eds.) "Tourism in the Pacific: Issues and Cases", London pp. 65-80] . They were the first company to offer tourism to New Guinea, in 1884, advertising the 'New Guinea Excursion Trip' [ "Sydney Morning Herald", 16 February 1884 in Douglas, N. (1994) "Electric Shadows in the South Seas: The Pacific Islands in film" in D. Aoki (ed.) "Moving Images of the Pacific Islands: A Guide to Films and Video", Center for Pacific Island Studies: Honolulu, p. 40] . This consisted of a five week trip from
Thursday Islandand has been described as the "official beginning of tourist cruises in the South Pacific" [Douglas, N. (1994) 'Electric Shadows in the South Seas: The Pacific Islands in film' in D. Aoki (ed.) "Moving Images of the Pacific Islands: A Guide to Films and Video", Center for Pacific Island Studies: Honolulu, p. 40] . The company later published a book titled "Picturesque Travel".
By 1914 the Burns Philp Tourist Department was established advertising tours on Lord Howe and Norfolk Island. Acquisition of the Port Moresby Hotel occurred in the same year, with the Papua Hotel purchased some years later. Burns Philp "maintained a near monopoly on passenger services to Melanesia until the outbreak of the war in the Pacific". [ Douglas, N. and Douglas, N. (1996) "Tourism in the Pacific: Historical factors" in Hall, C.M. and Page, S.J. (eds.) "Tourism in the Pacific: Issues and Cases", London p. 27] The war saw the British government take over some of the Burns Philp fleet and the vessel "Macdui" was sunk in Port Moresby in 1942 as its first voyage as a troop carrier. [ Buckley, K. and Klugman, K. (1983) "The Australian Presence in the Pacific: Burns Philp 1914-1916", George Allen & Unwin: Sydney]
The culture of Papua New Guinea is highly diverse, as implied by the existence of over 800 languages in the country. Styles of cultural expression - carving, dance, singing, ornamentation, architecture, and more - vary greatly across the nation.
Public festivals which are open to tourists include the
Coffee Festivalin Goroka - May, National Mask Festivalin Rabaul-July, Mt Hagen Show- August, Goroka Show- September, Hiri Moale Festivalin Port Moresby- September, Morobe Showin Lae - October, Kundu & Canoe Festivalin Alotau - November.
The markets are a great drawcard for tourists. Along with local foods, arts and crafts are often on display and can be purchased for reasonable prices. Some of the items on display are traditional carvings and beadwork, traditional and contemporary paintings on canvas and traditionally woven baskets and serving trays. The larger more tourist oriented markets are usually held once a month in the larger towns.
PNG is argurably one of the best diving destinations in the world. Among many attractions, the most attractive points is that PNG has one of the Healthiest Coral Reef Seytem in the World. Not only are there many coral reefs to explore, there are also numerous wrecked
World War IIboats and aircraft to be found on the ocean floor. Some of the best dive spots are at West New Britain/Kimbe Bay, Kavieng, Madang, Alotau, Tufiand East New Britain/Rabaul. Even Port Moresby, the capital city can offer superb diving.
Many of the diving spots are easily acceccible by day trip boat, while some spots are only accesible by liveaboard vessel.
Surfing can be enjoyed all year round. The southern side of PNG includes places such as Hula Beach (100km from Port Moresby),
Milne Bay, Bougainville, and East New Britainwhich can be surfed from June through to September. In the north of PNG surfing season is mid October to late April. There are great surfing locations which include Madang, Wewakand Kavieng, with the better and more consistent waves found in Vanimo.
The most famous walking trail in Papua New Guinea is the
Kokoda Track, the site of a famous World War IIbattle between Australiaand Japan. Another popular hike is climbing Mount Wilhelm, the highest mountain in Papua New Guinea. There are many more walking tracks, including the very rough Bulldog and Black Cat Tracks.
Travellers to PNG should be aware of high level of violence and crime in some areas. For example, lone foreign females are usually advised not to travel unescorted in Port Moresby and in parts of the Highlands region. Travellers should seek up-to-date information about the current situation before travelling and travel with arrangements with an experienced tour operator with years of PNG experience.
* [http://www.png-tourism.com/ Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority]
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