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Old 12-11-2002, 12:23 AM
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How PNG can improve its Tourism Industry - the Burning Question !

Malum Nalu wrote:

Please find the November edition of the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority Newsletter. As we head to the end of the year, and look forward to a new year, your comments on how we can improve this newsletter, what you want to read, how PNG can improve its tourism, etc, etc, would be much appreciated. Please get back to me with your feedback.

Sincerely,

Malum Nalu,
Media/PR Coordinator,
PNG Tourism Promotion


mnalu@pngtourism.org.pg
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  #2  
Old 12-11-2002, 12:32 AM
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Following Malum Nalu's email, we all received a reply from Benny B. M. Popoitai from the Bank of Papua New Guinea. Here are his comments :

Dear Mr. Nalu,

I have always been a quiet supporter of IPA's activities
in so far as promoting PNG with my contacts both in PNG and outside PNG. Whilst the challenge is ongoing, there are few things I think can be
addressed by our own institutions.

First we need to have a promotional or introductory video on PNG on all flights into PNG.These must be screened, before all inflight entertainment comes on.

Second we must improve our image at first contact with our visitors on arrival. Of late I have noticed that our airport/arrival official's are the most hardfaced customs officials I have come across in my limited travels. Customs officials are the worst. In my view they view each traveller into PNG with contempt, regardless of wheather they are
PNGn's, or visitors.

They make them open their bags to go through to look for dutiable items, inspite of their declaration on the entry forms. It is most embarrassing. It really destroys the persons (traveller) image when
our officials do not trust their declaration. After a long flight everyone
wants to reach their final destination and recouperate, and not create
anxiety and embarrsment to our visitors

The most important form of promotion of image is through the personal contact. We can spend as much we want on promoting our image
but if we do not change our behavoir, all will change for the worst.Many
counties that have tourisim as a significant revenue earner for their
respective countries give their visitors proper respect, and not treat them as we do . Unless the customs officials have information on particular traveller, they do not go through their lugage to look for dutiable items.

In other words they are more careful about the bigger picture and the long run image of the country.If each visitor can bring back good memories amd relate it to 10 of their best friends, they have done the country a service. Out of the 10 friends 3 or 4 might want to come and find out for themselves. The multiplier effect of a change for the better will be enormous.

Why do we worry about K100.00 duty now, and not be more concerned about K6,000 to K10,000, we will discourage from additional visitors into PNG in the future? It seems we cannot see beyound our noses. It is unusual to see a smile on any one of our officials these days.

Finally our entry forms have not been reviewed for many years. Some of the information gathered on the forms seems so irrelevant, that for some of us (patriotic PNGn's) it is really embarrasing. I wonder what a seasoned traveller would think?

I will be sending the same emails to Secratary of Forieign Affairs and Commisioner General, in an attempt to see if something can be done.

Benny B M Popoitai

bpopoitai@bankpng.gov.pg
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Old 12-11-2002, 01:14 AM
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I received this reply which was cc'd to myself made up as follows:

Hi Benny, I got your email and fully agree with your frustrations.

I can share an example of my most recent experience on my way back from Melbourne on 26 Oct 2002. There were two flights coming in from Brisbane and Cairns and there were just two immigration desk officers catering to over 500 passengers. Without undermining their capabilities, it would only be fair to say that while they were doing their best, there was always the scope for mistakes considerintg the pressure on them to clear so many passengers.

To add fuel to the situtation, we had a couple of immigration officers, with their ID cards hanging around their neck calmly walk up to a few wantoks, collect their passports and pushing it through the two desk officers to process on a "priority" basis while the other few hundred passengers waited and watched in utter shock (some passengers could not watch as the serpentine line / queue had almost reached the respective aircraft doors back on the tarmac !! )

This gold mine of tourism has been vastly undeveloped in PNG. The only major beneficiaries are Cairns and the Gold Coast City Council who make millions due to residents and other tourists avoiding PNG due to lack of infrastructure and financing to develop these projects.

Maybe it would be worthwhile for you to recommend to the appropriate authorities to consider the benefits if ever a fraction of the vast mining exploration costs are redirected towards "tourism promotion exploration costs".

Independent organisations can be involved in a global tendering process of inviting various tourist resort operators to put in proposals for developing tourist resorts at various locations in the country - this process can get the much needed foreign exchange in the country through investments by these operators as well as from the flow of tourists in later years.

One of the many ways would be to get the tenderers to provide proposals to do the BOT concept - build, operate and transfer. This will ensure that the tourist sites are built with investor money, operated until they get their pay back or financial returns on investments over a mutually agreed investment period and the projects are then sold to local population either through equity stocks or through investments from financial institutions.

With the flow of money into relevant projects around the country, l migration of skilled labour from villages to cities will reduce due to increased opportunities at the respective village levels for servicing the large tourism industry that can be developed over the next three to five years.

There are international consulting organisations that can assist with their expertise in the tourism promition industry - this process will avoid chopping the rich forest resources within PNG as well as keep the various overseas friends of PNG comfortable about the end use of aid and financing money with good prospects of repayments.

comments from one concerned citizen.

Other comments are most welcome !
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Old 12-11-2002, 01:27 AM
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I received an email from Malum today saying that he could not fly to Wewak on either Saturday or Sunday to attend the Bamboo Festival because the flight was over booked and he had been off loaded. He was planning on trying again today, so as at the time of writing I can only assume he got away.

Firstly, here is a person from TPA trying to 'promote tourism' and trying his best to write a story to ensure more people would have the 'desire' to visit Wewak for whatever reason, ie surfing, business or otherwise and he cant even get on a flight !

My reply to Malum was that Air Niugini could have put him perhaps on the jump seat to make sure he reached his destination in time for the special event on the tourism calendar.

Can you imagine a tourist in the same situation ? Absolute panic...where would they stay....could they re book their flight etc etc - the mind boggles !

I was also involved recently in delivering a document to the Gateway Hotel for a client arriving from Madang. The client arrived but even though he had booked a room, on arrival found there was no room assigned to him and that he would have to look elsewhere.

At the time I was talking to him, I could hear angry tourists in the background pleading for accommodation as they had confirmed package holiday bookings but were being turned away from the Hotel saying they were over booked.

Doesnt this send out the wrong messages to tourists who at 6pm at night in a strange country, suddenly find themselves pleading and having to phone around to try and find alternative accommodation. Do you think they will be BACK ? ? I doubt it ! Even the businessman in question would hesitate to book into the hotel again...why...because he had his passport delivered to the hotel along with our envelope and nothing could be found upon his arrival at the hotel. Fortunately we were able to quote a persons name and the envelope was found, but we really have to do something to ensure this kind of thing does not happen again and staff have to be trained to be more responsible.
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Old 12-11-2002, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by aussie

I was also involved recently in delivering a document to the Gateway Hotel for a client arriving from Madang. The client arrived but even though he had booked a room, on arrival found there was no room assigned to him and that he would have to look elsewhere.

At the time I was talking to him, I could hear angry tourists in the background pleading for accommodation as they had confirmed package holiday bookings but were being turned away from the Hotel saying they were over booked.

Doesnt this send out the wrong messages to tourists who at 6pm at night in a strange country, suddenly find themselves pleading and having to phone around to try and find alternative accommodation. Do you think they will be BACK ? ? I doubt it ! Even the businessman in question would hesitate to book into the hotel again...why...because he was had his passport delivered to the hotel along with our envelope and nothing could be found upon his arrival at the hotel. Fortunately we were able to quote a persons name and the envelope was found, but we really have to do something to ensure this kind of thing does not happen again and staff have to be trained to be more responsible.
A PROFESSIONAL, Hospitality oriented hotel will NOT hesitate to drive these overbooked guests to the nearest hotel (even your competitor!) to ensure that these people will have PLEASANT EXPERIENCE with YOU! Because once they don't like you, you are pretty much WRITTEN OFF. Perhaps managers at the hotel need more hospitality training from an experienced trainer.

Things like these SHOULD have been a part of the hotel's OPERATIONS GUIDE (aka company bible or whatever it is called) so when faced with the situation, things are not left to chances or personal decisions. It should be DEAD SIMPLE on what to do and surely these kind of stuff happen very frequently in a hotel, one would think? I mean may not be your hotel but as a general accommodation place anywhere in the world!

Well I don't know maybe someone eventually did drive them off to the other hotel... let's hope so
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Old 12-11-2002, 08:25 AM
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Reply from MEG TAYLOR received this morning

Dear Mr.Nalu,

I wish to endorse the comments by Mr Popoitai and would like to go a step back in terms of initial contact. There has to be coordination between the Dept of Foreign Affairs and TPA.

When a potential visitor calls and Embassy or a Consulate for a VISA she/he does not want to get the runaround nor be treated with contempt. I have been told by my daughter that when she phoned our then consulate in Sydney to get a visa for a friend who was coming to have Christmas with us in Goroka that she was treated most rudely. When she said who's daughter she was the officer said...Oh mi ting you missus ya!!! That says it all.

PNG has to seriously think through a Tourism policy and make a decision as to whether it wants visitors and then go out and conduct a major education program on what it means to have a tourist industry. I hate to say it, but all the newsletters in the world rehashing the news of the region is not the way to go.

I do not need to read about the Bali bombings in TPA newsletter .I want to know the PNG story.I want to be excited and I want to send the newsletter with lots of beautiful pictures to all my colleagues and friends that ask me about my country as a destination to go to for a holiday.

You have to focus on marketing PNG and that is a newsletter telling the PNG story,creating a place to discover. A place where you are welcome. Mr.Popoitaios comments on arrival are so true. The attitude is shown all over the faces of staff.(and again it is Foreign Affairs).

I often watch how foreigners are treated.I am always welcomed home but I feel embarrassed for visitors.Such contempt. It amazes me that we get any visitors. But I know that once people get through the airport they have a great time in PNG.

Now as for Customs I must say that i had the most impressive interchange with Customs on my visit home in September. They could not have been more polite and I thought someone has been working on their public relations. I know Benny travels in and out more then I do so things must have changed.

I hope you will take my comments with goodwill. We are all Ambassadors where ever we are and PNG is our destination.One that we want to share. It needs everyone to promote our country and Foreign Affairs is the first point of contact.

Thanks for listening,

Bye the way PNG was mentioned four times on the Today Show NBC this morning. It was in relation to Veterans Day. However millions of viewers watch this program every morning.,and the pronunciation of Papua was the best I have heard here.

Meg Taylor

mtaylor@ifc.org
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Old 12-11-2002, 11:17 AM
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PNG Tourism

At this point in time when PNG is in the midst of an economic crisis the leaders and (us) the people should look seriously at our next step to recovery is.

Tourism is a DEFINITE GOLD MINE vastly undeveloped as aired by our concerned citizen earlier so, when are we going to wake to reality and realise that this unlimited resource will not only ensure PNG a name on the Map, help lift the economy, but also strengthen the culture, customs and old ways that is gradually eroding from our traditionally rich rural societies.

I come from an area in Manus where the old customs are now indirect money making scheme's and usually end up with split familes. We cannot blame anyone else but ourselves and its for that reason that I believe Tourism will bring PNG back to it's once natural state.

My challenge goes out to the generation of today to set our priorities right and do your bit for TOURISM IN PNG, We may have strange traditional customs and ways but REMEMBER it is those ways that have been the source of your upbringing, the source of your inspirations so lets take one step further and show the world the REAL PAPUA NEW GUINEA.
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Old 12-11-2002, 11:29 AM
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Reply from Steven Mago

Dear Malum,

I further endorse the earlier comments by Benny Popoitai and Meg Taylor.

There are many issues that we need to address right across the board but I will touch on the immediate few that come to mind.

The airport is the first point of contact for the arriving visitor and his/her
first impressions of the country, and its people and tourism service culture are formed there and then. So the people at the airport should be among the first people to be educated about little things like putting on a smile and saying hello. In all my exists past the immigration and customs counters at the international terminal, no one has ever said hello to me (not that I need it because I don't). Imagine how many other people out there who don't feel welcome when they arrive, especially the foreign tourists. Most officers are poorly dressed with clothes unpressed, some with buai still in their mouths, stained clothes and there is no sense of urgency.

They take their time as if they are ina funeral cortege. Someone
should remind them, "time is money".

Going one step back, I remember a time at Air Niugini when the flight
crew would bend over backwards to serve you, both on domestic and
international flights. There were many fine examples like Helen Mesulam, Nasain Puipui and Cathy Hiob who have moved on to other pastures.

They had personality and their presence on flights made your flight all
worthwhile because you felt you were being truly cared for. Today, most
have lost that personal touch and you wonder from their faces whether
they've had a bad previous flight or are not enjoying their job.

The job of tourism promotion does not only belong to the TPA and tourism operators. We are all ambassadors and we are all in a position to make a difference, doesn't matter who we are and where we are. We should all be promotiong our country because essentially, tourism affescts us all in one way or another. Also, we are all tourism promoters and tourism promoters are in essence, information officers and their job is to inform, persuade and remind prospective tourists and other visitors about a country and its tourism products.

Weighing eveything up, I personally believe that there is no more greater challenge in PNG tourism development than education and awareness for our local people because tourism really belongs to them. After all, they own the resopurces and should educated and made aware to a level whether they have a basic understanding of what is involved and what their individual and communal roles are.

Of particular interest to me are the rural host communities who are the
tourism resource owners. It is unfair to expect a lot from our people in
villages when they don't even understand what tourism is all about. The
industry should simultaneously be educated and trained to improve and
enhance its skill base to polish their customers better and improve their
attitude towards tourists.

At the same time, the travel trade in the source markets and the
consumer markets need that continuity of access to destinational and
tourism product information to be able to sell our country. Some travel
agents overseas that I have spoken to tell me they don't offer and sell
PNG to their tourists because they do not have much information about
the destination. And I can understand - If I was a travel agent, I wouldn't send a client to a place that I didn't know much about.

This is why it's important for the government to support the TPA with the
level of budgetary assistance it needs so that they can go to many more
travel shows, have more famil visits for travel agents and wholesalers and media visits.

It's not enough to attend a show one year and not attend the next year
because of budget constraints. To be effective in our promotion, we have to consistently be present and be seen in the marketplace because there are more aggressive competiting destinations out there wanting a slice of the same tourism dollar.

And with PNG's tarnished image overseas and the lack of general
knowledge about where we are on the world map, there is a huge PR
exercise out there and we have a lot of work to do.

Thank you.

Steven Mago

stevenmago@hotmail.com
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Old 12-11-2002, 12:33 PM
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Reply from Meg Taylor

You have me on a roll now.I won't shut up.

Seriously friends, After the Bali bombing the new Destination for Australian tourists was FIJI. We did not get a mention. So that should be an indicator of how well we are marketing our beautiful country.

Fiji has made a come back form adverse publicity.

So we should be looking at our Marketing Strategy. I have ideas just as others have so lets put them down and help TPA.

Meg Taylor: flip:

mtaylor@ifc.org
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Old 12-11-2002, 12:58 PM
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Reply from Steven Mago

Dear All,

Again, I agree with Meg. Let's all put our ideas together and help the TPA to form a marketing direction.

Tourism is a market-driven industry. Like it or not, we have entered a new market-driven era involving many strategic challenges and opportunities.

We have to acknowledge the growing and complex challenges of gaining
and sustaining performance and competition in our current tourist source markets.

How about a forum for all our ideas to come together?

Thank you.

Steven Mago

stevenmago@hotmail.com
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