PNG Tourism minister says lawlessness deterring visitors

2:26 pm on 31 August 2018

A Papua New Guinea cabinet minister says PNG is being classed as a visitor 'no go zone' and it's impacting on the country's tourism sector.

Port Moresby in PNG at night

Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins

The Post Courier reported the tourism minister, Emil Tammur saying PNG is now listed with the likes of North Korea, Yemen, Iran, Iraq and Syria, by the United Kingdom and United States.

He urged intervention by relevant government authorities, stakeholders and local communities to curb law and order issues.

Mr Tammur said criminal activities such as armed hold-ups of tourists and tribal fighting in tourism hot spots were already having a negative impact with increased holiday cancellations.

The paper said he is condemned the recent armed robbery of 20 tourists at Tawali Dive Resort in Alotau, where criminals took wallets, mobile phones, cameras and other personal items from travellers who had come from as far away as Europe, Asia and North America.

Boats at the port of Alotau in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea, 2011.

Boats at the port of Alotau in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea Photo: Danemo

Despite the minister's claims the US government advisory for travellers to PNG, as of July 25th is only at level two advising visitors to exercise increased caution.

This is on a scale of one to four with four being the complete travel ban.

The British government position is similar, although it does advise against all but essential travel to Hela and the Southern Highlands Province in the wake of the earthquake disaster and ongoing tribal fighting.

For similar reasons it also urges tourists to take more care in Enga and Western Highlands.

The advisory also warns that law and order is very poor in parts of Papua New Guinea, including the capital Port Moresby and Lae City.

PNG Highlands Highway

A hut on a hill in the PNG Highlands. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins

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