Attracting Tourists to Papua New Guinea


It’s a country described as the most linguistically diverse place on earth – with more than 800 living languages.

Papua New Guinea has a population of about eight million people, with some 80 percent of the people living in rural areas.

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It’s a country that wants to grow its tourism. The latest data show in the first six months of this year more than 34,600 visitors to Papua New Guinea spent USD$78 million – an average of USD$2,262 per trip

An in depth look at the research provides some interesting insights:

  • A breakdown of visitors shows that 54 percent of visitors to Papua New Guinea arrived for business purposes, 30 percent were tourists, and 16 percent arrived to visit family and friends which gives room for the country to market itself more strongly as a tourist destination
  • Between January – June 2018, 48 percent of the visitors were from the Australian market. The Australian market is predominately a mature, male market with most visitors between the ages of 40 and 70 years. Visitors spend slightly less than the average spent by holidaymakers.
  • New Zealand has a split market with a grouping of younger travelers and a grouping of older travelers. There is potential for the young, adventurous New Zealand market to spur an increase in interest among younger travelers in other markets.
  • The North America market is the highest yielding and oldest market for Papua New Guinea.  With low rates of interest in returning, Papua New Guinea is seen as a once-in-a-lifetime destination.  Given the older demographic, accessibility is likely a concern for this market.
  • For North American visitors, cultural activities are important. Travel agents play an important role in marketing the destination and booking travel.
  • European travelers prefer independent travel using travel books and the internet to find new destinations and book travel online. Ensuring information on Papua New Guinea is available online, in multiple languages is important.
  • The high yielding European holiday market has the longest average length of stay in Papua New Guinea. The lower age range and high percent of male travelers indicates a trend toward adventure travel.
  • The Pacific holiday market is a young market, reflecting the demographics of the region. Overall, it’s a small holiday market for Papua New Guinea representing only three percent of holiday visitors.
  • The key tourism destinations prioritized by the government of Papua New Guinea have the highest levels of visitor satisfaction. Destinations with lower levels of satisfaction may face issues of safety and security or fading accommodation stock.
  • While most people visit Port Moresby, there is an opportunity to encourage more visitors to regions and provinces. Interest in returning remains high at 93 percent of total visitors.