28 Mar 2012

Bougainville leader sees promise in historical tourism after Japanese ambassador's visit

4:28 pm on 28 March 2012

The president of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville says it can exploit its unique history to attract tourists.

This follows a trip to south Bougainville last week by the Japanese Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Hiroharu Iwasaki, to visit the remains of the wreckage of the plane in which Japan's World War Two hero Admiral Yamamoto died.

President John Momis says Bougainville was one of the main theatres in World War Two.

He says historical tourism has real potential rather than the province relying solely on the re-opening of the Panguna mine.

"But that means the people changing their mindset to accept outsiders and being friendly to them. Before the crisis Bougainvilleans were very friendly. It is amazing what the crisis has done to us. We have to work hard to try to regain the old spirit and the old positive attitude of friendship and mutual commitment to help one another."