12 Apr 2005

Bougainville sees signs of a return of tourism

8:09 pm on 12 April 2005

Signs are emerging of a renewed tourism industry in the Papua New Guinea Province of Bougainville.

For the first time in 16 years, a tourist ship arrived in the town of Buka last week and as many as five thousand people turned out to greet it.

PNG's Intergovernment Minister, Sir Peter Barter, was in Buka to welcome the Clipper Odyssey and he says the crowds were a sign of the longing for a normal economy:

"There's been a lot of talk about autonomy, the peace process and elections and everything else, but I think people in Bougainville really want to see a normal economy returned. So I think it was a breaking out type party, They welcomed not only the ship, but they welcomed a change in the attitudes towards the economy and the need of an economy in Bougainville."

PNG's Intergovernment Minister, Sir Peter Barter.