Rise in Crime Tarnishing Papua New Guinea’s Image as a Tourist Destination

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Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea – The Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA) strongly condemns the recent attack on tourists at Roku Beach, Central Province, including the brutal killings in the Upper Highlands region, and the kidnapping of a helicopter crew in the Hela Province.

These heinous acts not only devastate communities and local service providers but also have significant repercussions on the tourism sector in Papua New Guinea.

“PNG has faced a torrent of negative publicity, not only from these incidents, but also from the ‘Black Wednesday’ civil unrest that caused an inferno of international media coverage casting a shadow over the entire country, and painting an inaccurate picture of Papua New Guinea as an unsafe destination for travellers,” says Mr. Eric Uvovo, CEO of the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority.

Since the January 2024 riots, the PNGTPA research team have been monitoring travel advisories and media coverage from key source markets, and reports show that Papua New Guinea has since been flagged as an extremely high security-risk destination, particularly for travellers from America, Australia and China.

The tourism industry is already being affected by the publicity concerning the burgeoning law and order issues in the country. Two major cruise liners expected to visit the country this year, had to cancel their PNG cruise itineraries due to the January civil riots and looting.

“In light of the serious law-and-order issues traumatizing our country’s economy, we seek immediate intervention by the PNG Government to curb the surge in violent crimes. Normalcy must be restored to encourage consumer confidence in PNG as a tourist destination. Papua New Guineans must also be responsible law-abiding citizens, demonstrating respect, duty-of-care and national pride – all this contributes to a safer society – not just for tourists, but for everyone residing in Papua New Guinea,” Mr. Uvovo said.

“In the meantime, the PNGTPA commends the government for continuing to have our country’s borders open, we also commend our tourism industry who have shown an incredible amount of resilience during these difficult times.”

“For those still planning to visit our beautiful country, we encourage you to book your travels with reputable tour operator in the country. If International visitors require further information about tour operators, please contact our marketing and promotions division to verify.”

“PNGTPA acknowledges the urgent need for collaborative action to address this issue and restore confidence in tourism for Papua New Guinea. We are committed to working closely with relevant authorities, including law enforcement agencies, provincial governments, local communities, and tourism stakeholders, to implement effective strategies aimed at improving safety and security for visitors. 

PNGTPA will also be setting up a 24-hour emergency helpline for tourists, which will be available in the coming weeks,” concludes Mr. Uvovo.

CEO Mr. Uvovo, also appealed to the media to reach out to the PNGTPA and the tourism industry to discover the positive stories that PNG has about its beautiful and awe-inspiring destinations and proactively share positive stories and experiences of tourists – both local and international, to counter negative perceptions and showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty.

The PNG Tourism Promotion Authority remains steadfast in its commitment to promoting Papua New Guinea as a safe and attractive tourist destination. 

We urge all stakeholders to join us in our efforts to address the challenges facing the tourism sector and rebuild confidence in tourism for the benefit of our communities and economy.

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Oliver Smith


Blii Teamimg Square
Oliver Smith


Blii Teamimg Square
Oliver Smith


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Whether you fall for our magnificent natural scenery and diverse cultural heritage, or the contrasts between our unhurried towns and buzzing cities, Papua New Guinea is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on you.

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