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Bougainville identifies tourism as main sector

Published by MAC on 2006-04-04

Bougainville identifies tourism as main sector

By ALOYSIUS LAUKAI, The National

4th April 2006

THE Autonomous Bougainville Government has identified tourism as the main sector to drive its economy forward this year.

Assistant Secretary for Economic Services Patrick Koles said now that the Panguna copper mine had ceased production, the government had shifted its attention to tourism.

He said the island of Bougainville was still continuing efforts to find impact projects that will kick-start economic activities in the region.

Mr Koles was speaking at the closing of a day-long tourism workshop in Buka last Friday.

The PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA) had organised the workshop to gauge views and opinions from the various stakeholders to include in a master plan for the industry in the country.

Attending were 55 hotel and guest house owners and others from all over Bougainville.

The facilitators were PNGTPA consultant Ross Hopkins and the authority's policy and planning manager, Gabriel Pakio.

Mr Koles explained that the decision for the island to focus on tourism was made at the Bougainville economic summit held in Buka two years ago.

He said there was huge potential for tourism on Bougainville and it only needs the support and commitment from all stakeholders, including the autonomous government and the village people, to make it work.

Buin and Torokina have provided the main attractions for tourists on Bougainville. Japanese, especially, frequent these areas in numbers annually to visit Gen Yamamoto's crash site in Buin and the battlefield of Torokina.

Meanwhile, ABG Minister for Economic Services Taehu Pais also called on the tourism authority to invite and include Bougainville in its overseas cultural shows.

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