AN agreement has been signed in Kokopo to deliver tourism projects in the province to live up to its name as the tourism hub of the country.
Tourism Arts and Culture Minister Emil Tammur said at the signing ceremony between the national Government, East New Britain and China’s Asia Pacific Tourism Organisation (Apto) that people should be ready to welcome huge numbers of tourists.
The expansion of Tokua Airport, improvement and building of roads in Kokopo, building of new hotels and improving hotel capacity were some of the immediate projects in sight.
Apto is a non-government organisation founded in Hong Kong in 2008. It has a membership of 27 countries including China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, India and Russia.
It is an important international organisation in the Asia-Pacific tourism industry based in Hong Kong with its secretariat office in Beijing.
The organisation promotes and develops tourism in a collaborative service manner and promotes economic development, world peace and enhances international understanding.
Apto President He Guangye said the cooperation would see major infrastructural development projects delivered and improved.
Other party who signed included the president of China Railway International Group Company Ltd (South Pacific) Wu Dongzheng and the managing director of Wonders Travel Services Ltd Lin Xiaoliang.
Guangye said the agreement was to prepare the province for the expected influx of visitors from the Asian region, especially China, which had 1.3 million people travelling every year.
He said the purchasing power of Chinese tourists was the highest in the world.
“Due to the high purchasing power of China, we must build more shopping malls to help improve the lives of our people in the province and PNG,” Guangye said.
“After all this is done, people from China and other parts of Asia will visit PNG to bring tourism to the next level.”
Tammur said the tourism industry in PNG was in its infancy stage and begged for more collaboration between all levels of government.