The first UNWTO event in the Pacific Islands sub-region, aligned with the celebrations of the #IY2017 was an immense success in Port Moresby, PNG

The first UNWTO event in the Pacific Islands sub-region, aligned with the celebrations of the #IY2017 was an immense success in Port Moresby, PNG

The 11th UNWTO Asia/Pacific Executive Training Programme on Tourism Policy and Strategy was held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from 20-23 March 2017.  The Programme marked the first UNWTO event in the Pacific Islands subregion, and its theme “Sustainable Tourism for Development” was aligned with the celebrations of the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.  This programme has been sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea since 2006, and provides a unique platform for senior-level officials to come together and discuss pertinent issues related to policy, strategy and development of tourism in the Asia Pacific Region.

During the first day, the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority and UNWTO Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific co-organized a UNWTO National Forum on Sustainable Tourism for Development where over 160 local tourism stakeholders from private and public sectors gathered to discuss tourism development throughout Papua New Guinea as a tool to create new employment opportunities, poverty reduction, and as a contributor to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, congratulated the host government of PNG for their commitment and management of this event and noted the tremendous potential of Papua New Guinea in the international tourism market “You are a blank canvas to the world with opportunity to fill as colorful, beautiful and wonderful image of PNG” he noted and underlined “¨PNG must do everything it can to promote itself in a positive light for next year´s APEC Summit.”

Papua New Guinea Minister of Finance, Hon. James Marape, MP also shared his remarks during the opening ceremony and welcomed local participants, delegates and organizers, “We will definitely shift our focus away from mining and oil, and bring more attention into this (tourism) sector, which in our view can hold the economy. Come back to us five years from now and you will see what this country will be.” He continued by conveying Papua New Guinea’s commitment to the development of a sustainable tourism sector where all residents can benefit equally. 

The one-day Forum culminated in the bilateral minutes of tourism cooperation between PNG Minister of Tourism, Hon. Tobias Kulang and UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, in which both sides acknowledged the importance of tourism development for Papua New Guinea as a sustainable, alternative economic sector for its people, and committed to collaboratively work on a national tourism strategy for the next 12 years.

Over the following two days, 21 delegates representing 16 countries from the Asia Pacific Region participated in the Executive Training Programme to discuss sustainable tourism development. Each delegate had the opportunity to share best practices and case studies from their respective countries on sustainable tourism. Furthermore, through a series of lectures, group discussion and debates facilitated by UNWTO Anchor Consultant, Dr. Ong Hong Peng and Adjunct Professor, Steve Noakes.  The delegates examined resource efficiency, safeguarding natural and cultural heritage.  Special attention was given to the impacts of climate change and the ways in which tourism in Asia and the Pacific can contribute to the SDGs through inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development employment and poverty reduction.

Please refer to the event’s website for additional information, technical note, and technical presentations by experts and UNWTO delegates.


Ms. Jeongmi LEE

UNWTO Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific

Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 94 / 

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