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The Journey to Paradise Photos of great cultural and natural beauties of Papua New Guinea

 
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:33 PM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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Bougainville – Paradise Undiscovered

BOUGAINVILLE is truly Paradise undiscovered – a tourism melting pot for the adventurer or just the leisure traveler.

To say this once civil war riddled region is bound to become the next tourism icon of the pacific in 10 or so years is no exaggeration. Where else in the world can one find a natural sink-hole where a helicopter can fly in and out with plenty of room to spare and where you can fit in 30 cars without a problem. It is where several American warships stacked on top each other since World War 2 provides an eye-catching underwater skyscraper for divers.

It is where volcanoes live in harmony with the surrounding environment and where Admiral Yamato’s crash site is fast becoming a site for Japanese pilgrims. Not only does it have the products and the attractions, the newly established Autonomous Bougainville Government is serious about developing tourism as a major economic activity.

The Japanese peace monument of Sohano Island overlooking the Buka Passage. Main island of Bougainville is on the right.
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:37 PM
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More importantly, those that will make it happen – the ordinary citizens of this autonomous region - are all very excited about the prospects of tourism on Bougainville and how they can benefit from this thriving industry. This is especially so given the current scenario with the Paguna Copper Mine once the life blood of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea (that may now change with the passing of Francis Ona) and the slow rehabilitation of its once thriving cocoa and coconut industry. The Autonomous Bougainville Assembly under President Joseph Kabui is of the firm belief that tourism could just be the industry that will drive its young economy. “I think tourism is the way forward for Bougainville now if we want to be economically independent,” said Kabui, when I bumped into him during breakfast at the Kuri Village Resort in Buka recently.

The beautiful coral attols along the west coast of Bougainville.
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:39 PM
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I had just told him that we were expecting 50 participants at the Kenny’s Hall for the Tourism Promotion Authority awareness workshop and training but more than 200 had turned up. “That’s very good,” Kabui responded rather pleased, “You see, the people are all very excited. Since the autonomous government came into existence, everybody wants to be involved and contribute towards the development of Bougainville. I am very pleased that you people from the Tourism Promotion Authority have come to Bougainville to promote tourism.” Kabui said his government was already opening up airstrips in Wakunai, Torokina, Siwai and Buin, which will create easy accessibility for tourists to these exciting places. “We will also need one or two fast boats so tourists can go out to Nissan and the Atolls. There are very beautiful places out there,” he added.

Local tourists on White Island near Buka.....
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:41 PM
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The ABG has the full support of its public service machinery headed by administrator Peter Tsiamalili and his deputy Andrew Pisi. Psisi who opened the TPA workshop said the turn out showed the interest of the people of Bougainville and will be recorded as a part of the history of the new Bougainville since inauguration on June 15 & 16. “There is a lot of potential here as tourism is one area where we can tap in to generate revenue for Bougainville,” he said. “We must all be proud of our place because there is no place in the world that is as beautiful as Bougainville.”

The Autonomous Bougainville Government's House of Representatives at Kubu on Buka Island.
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:43 PM
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A website: www.bougainville.port5.com has been created to promote tourism there. ABG Tourism Minister Taehu Pais, who originates from the pristine atolls, encouraged all Bougainvilleans to put to use what they have learnt by starting small and working in partnership with other resource owners to promote tourism. Pais said they will have his backing as minister and one of his priorities would be to launch an annual Bougainville Cultural Show so all of the islands’ rich cultures can be showcased on the same stage at once.

The relic of a fighter plane on Sohano Island.
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:45 PM
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One demand that came out strongly from Bougainvilleans was for the TPA to immediately remove from our website (www.pngtourism.org.pg) any travel restrictions we may have on Bougainville. They were insistent that the island was now free for all to visit. This is very much evident today when you arrive at Buka, a town booming with business and plays host to the headquarters of the ABG at nearby Kubu. Five minutes by banana boat across the famous Buka Passage is the little township of Kokopau and your highway on mainland Bougainville to the once famous “Happy Belly” resort area in Kieta or drive past the white sandy beaches on the Koromira Road to Buin. Also five minutes by boat from the evergreen Buka Market “boat stop” is the historical island of Sohano, which was once the administration headquarters of Bougainville.

Souvenier seller at the Buka market.
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:47 PM
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A white coloured arch shaped Japanese peace monument on the cliff edge is a prominent feature and seems to cut right through the middle of the passage. Down below lies the sacred rock “Chebu” which locals has magical powers. . An afternoon’s leisurely walk around Sohano is a must for visitors but going further west by dinghy; you pass many beautiful little islands including White Island. The sink-hole known by locals as the ‘Kunua’ is in Torokina near Korepovi Village. A river is said to flow at the bottom of this hole which is accessible by helicopter. Of course, island hoping can be exciting around the atolls and the Nissan Island which has scheduled Airlink flights every week from Rabaul and Buka.

Sun sets over the Buka Passage with the sacred rock "Chebu" in the foreground.
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:49 PM
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An international yacht zone exists between Vanuatu, Solomon Islands connecting Bougainville and up to the Philippines which can be explored as well. Right now, the challenge for Bougainville is to find a truly unique tourism icon which represents the region. Currently, the symbol of Bougainville is the ‘Upe’ hat symbolizing manhood but others argue that not only is it a political symbol, it does not represent the women folk. The ‘Mona’ a traditional war canoe from the Haku area of Buka has been suggested but just as a new baby trying to find its feet, Bougainville will one day find its own unique tourism icon, just like the Asaro Mudman is to Eastern Highlands and the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel is to the Kokoda Track. Who knows, maybe, the Paguna mine and late Ona’s Guava village can one day become Bougainville’s main attractions for both local and overseas tourists.

The beautiful smile of this little Buka girl is reassuring for visitors to Bougainville
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Old 08-08-2005, 03:49 PM
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Thumbs up Grate Stuff on NSP

It's good to see that Bouganville is moving forward thanks to pople like U.
Good work and keep it up .
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Old 08-08-2005, 08:19 PM
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Great article Ace...remind me of how we were before the copper mine crisis...but it still is beautiful despite all that....like the saying goes....true beauty never fades....
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