Sunday, 30 April 2017

MEXICO: Uber Drivers And Taxis Clash In Mazatlán

Tempers flared in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, this week where there were at least three confrontations between drivers of the Uber car hire service and taxi operators.

On Wednesday, the two came to blows at various locations outside hotels in the Zona Dorada area of the city where the rivals are vying for the tourist trade. Authorities seized six taxis and eight Uber cars in an effort to quell the violence.

Uber began operating in Mazatlán, Los Mochis and Culiacán last October but taxi drivers, as elsewhere in Mexico, were not happy.

According to the state’s deputy director of traffic and transportation, Jorge Castro Zamudio, Uber cannot legally provide its services in Sinaloa because the only two authorized and licensed organizations to do so are the Mexican Workers’ Confederation (CTM) and the National Confederation of Popular Organizations (CNOP).

He said fines have been levied against Uber drivers as a result: from 1,500 pesos for first-time offenders to 35,000 pesos for repeat offenders.

Cab drivers are dissatisfied, Castro explained, because they are at a disadvantage: “They have to pay for a special license, license plates, an identification card that certifies their training and insurance. Uber drivers only have to pay their affiliation fees.”

Mazatlán, a city of over 500,000 people, has 1,490 licensed taxis, including 500 pulmonías, small, open vehicles.

The resort city also has 11,900 hotel rooms, so hoteliers figure there is enough clientele for both transportation systems.

But there won’t be any tourists if violence between the two continues, warned a member of the Mazatlán Hotel and Tourist Services Association.

“Effects on transportation . . . in which tourists have been inadvertently involved, have to cease,” said José Gámez Valle.

Sinaloa Interior Secretary Gonzalo Gómez Flores said the state is open to modernization in transportation, but cautioned that the rights of taxi licensees must be protected in accordance with applicable laws.

Traffic and Transportation Secretary Guillermo Damián Haro Millán concurred with Gómez, saying that current regulations must be analyzed and studied to allow Uber to operate in the state.

But he also warned that any new violence will be met by a firm hand against all offenders.

An opposition Deputy claims that Uber is operating within the law in Sinaloa, and that the state’s 30-year-old transportation legislation is obsolete and requires reform.

National Action Party legislator Roberto Cruz Castro said Uber generates about 12,000 jobs in the state and offers benefits to users that include better service, more comfort and reduced fares. He charged that Sinaloa is the only state in Mexico that has not reformed its transportation legislation

Uber has a presence in 20 of the 32 states of Mexico, but only in five has its service been regulated and legislated: Mexico City, State of México, Puebla, San Luis Potosí and Jalisco.

This lack of regulation has sparked violent conflicts between Uber and established taxi services in at least 11 states, and at least two Uber partners have been murdered.

Uber halted its entry into Gómez Palacio, Durango, after being threatened by taxi organizations and municipal authorities alike. In Yucatán, authorities have seized some 550 Uber-affiliated vehicles, which state law considers pirate cabs.

MEXICO: Mexico Wants More Asian Tourists As Lourdes Berho Quits As CEO Mexico Tourism Board

DRIVEN by the improvement of direct connectivity and tourism facilitators, such as the visa system, Mexico expects the number of inbound travellers to surge from 35 million last year to about 42 million by 2020, said Maria Teresa Solis, Mexico’s vice-minister for tourism planning and policy.

The number of Asian visitors to Mexico is expected to more than double by 2020 from 500,000 last year.

“In Mexico, we are doing several things. We are working with Mexican destinations and with the private sector to strengthen a sustainability certifications,” she said in an exclusive interview with The Nation.

“We have one destination, called Huatulco, which has been awarded Earth Check Platinum, due to its high standards in terms of energy use [and] water and waste disposal.

“We are also doing the same with hotel, restaurant, small and micro businesses. They are getting sustainability certification,” she said.

The “S” mark will be bestowed by the tourism secretary on any business with good sustainable practices.

The United Nations is promoting 2017 as the international year for sustainable tourism development. Mexico has launched a major campaign, including radio and TV shows, to build awareness among the public.

“In Mexico, our key challenge is to catch up with the rapid growth of tourism in some destinations, such as Cancun, Riviera Nayarit and Los Cabos, especially in the allocation of public services to both tourists and local people, including water supply, light, housing and schools,” Solis said.

“We are building a new airport in Mexico City as the existing airport is insufficient. At a cost of US$9.1 billion [Bt315 billion], the new airport will be ready by 2020, and once fully completed, it will handle about 120 million passengers a year.

“The new airport is designed by well-known British and Mexican architects, respectively Norman Foster and Fernando Romero.”

About 35 million tourists came to Mexico last year, of whom 58 per cent were from the United States, 14 per cent from Central and South America, 11 per cent from Canada, 13 per cent from Europe and 4 per cent from the rest of the world, including Asia.

The growth of the tourism industry in Mexico, which represents 8.7 per cent of gross domestic product, will be driven by the country’s continuing improvement of direct connectivity and such things as easier visa processing, Solis said.

However, 85 per cent of the country’s tourism is by domestic travellers.

All Nippon Airways as of February 16 began operating direct flights between Tokyo and Mexico City.

China Southern as of April 11 began flying directly between Guangzhou and Mexico City.

Aeromexico will launch on May 27 a direct service between Seoul and Mexico City.

“It costs about $170 for the multiple visa to come to Thailand. However, Thai citizens will pay only $36 for a multiple visa to Mexico, which will be valid for six months,” she said.

Guillermo Eguiarte, director of the Mexico Tourism Board, said that considering flight connectivity and growth of the market, a growing middle class and more people heading to long-haul destinations, by 2020 Asia’s share of the Mexican tourism market would double to 8 per cent.

Thailand is a hub for the Southeast Asian market, he said.

“Our objective is to begin to improve awareness of Mexico and each destination with the local travel industry and partner with the main airlines that have flights to Mexico with fewer stops, such as ANA, Aeromexico and China Southern,” he said.

Meanwhile,Lourdes Berho has stepped down as CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board after less than a year in the position to return to the private sector, according to a statement from Sectur, Mexico's tourism ministry.

Tourism secretary Enrique de la Madrid named Hector Flores Santana as her replacement, effective May 1. Flores has held various executive positions with Sectur.

Berho is the founder of Alchemia, a marketing communications company focused on travel and tourism, innovation and sustainability. From 2004 to 2008, she was CEO of Conde Nast for Mexico and Latin America.

De la Madrid thanked Berho for her efforts to streamline the country's tourism-promotion efforts, citing high-profile events such as last month's Tianguis Turistico expo in Acapulco and the National Football League's return to Mexico City last fall.

MEXICO: Mexico Visitors Increase Inspite Of Travel Warnings

A recent report released by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) revealed that Mexico has surpassed Turkey as the eighth most popular tourist destination in the world.

Mexico welcomed 35 million visitors last year, with a nine percent increase in foreign tourists arriving in the country.

Due to political unrest and security concerns, Turkey welcomed 28.3 million visitors last year.

Mexico had dropped in the UNWTO rankings to 15th in 2013 but has since climbed back to ninth due to improved security and a steadily recovering tourism industry in certain regions.

The country finished eighth for last year, with only 600,000 fewer visitors than the seventh-place United Kingdom.

Tourism revenue was also up in Mexico, climbing to $19.6 billion.

Tourism officials in Mexico believe the country will enter the top five in the UNWTO rankings soon due to the 50 percent increase in visitor numbers since 2012. Mexico’s Tourism Secretariat also said the nation is working to provide more activities and attractions to entice travelers to stay longer when visiting.

Despite remaining concerns about crime in certain areas of the country, a recent survey of travel agents saw business to the country increase, including 45 percent who reported an increase in Mexican vacation sales by more than five percent.

In terms of specific markets that have performed the best over the last year, the Riviera Maya, Cancun, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit were all considered the most desirable destinations in Mexico.

The summer vacation season is almost upon us, and Visit Mexico is looking to entice American families to enjoy the warm nature of the country.

To help convince people that spending time in Mexico is a great vacation plan, the nation’s tourism bureau points out the country was named No. 1 in the world for Family Travel. Puerto Vallarta also ranked as the No. 2 destination in the world for LGBTQ travel at the prestigious Travvy Awards.

What's more International Living named Mexico as the No. 1 retirement destination in 2017.

In addition, Mexico was ranked as the friendliest and most welcoming country in the world during a recent survey of expatriates. National Geographic went on to name Baja California as one of its top places to visit in 2017.

Travel + Leisure also had glowing things to say about Mexico, naming San Miguel de Allende as the fourth friendliest city in the world and highlighting five Mexican destinations in its Top 10 Best Cities in Latin America rankings, including Oaxaca, Mexico City, Merida, San Miguel de Allende and Guadalajara.

A recent report released by the World Tourism Organization revealed that Mexico has surpassed Turkey as the eighth most popular tourist destination in the world, welcoming 35 million visitors last year.

While much of the news surrounding Mexico has been positive, the United States Department issued a travel warning ahead of the December holidays, urging American tourists to exercise caution and be vigilant in some parts of the country due to the “activities of criminal organizations.”

Hatching a new destination brand is never easy; taking a fallen icon into a new era is even harder.

The world is strewn with vacation spots where the lights don’t shine so brightly. Flights stop landing and decay overtakes debut. Destinations have lifespans, from Honolulu to Havana, Las Vegas to the Costa Brava. Some pivot to stay relevant but many don’t; it’s part of an inevitable fall from grace to the place “no one goes anymore.”

Creating a destination identity where there was none comes with risk.

Two of Mexico’s most successful beach brands illustrate the challenges. First came Quintana Roo’s Riviera Maya, followed some years later by the Pacific’s Riviera Nayarit. Today vacation mainstays, many may not remember the fact these regions stumbled out the gate. Playa del Carmen, Xel-Há and Tulum remained day trip backwaters 20 years after Cancun’s rise in the 70’s. In the shadow of Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta sat nearly abandoned through the 1980’s and 90’s.

Today it’s hard to imagine these “Rivieras” will ever be on the has-been list of places no one goes anymore, but a destination’s destiny and decline can be two sides of the same golden coin.

That’s exactly what happened to the place that literally invented the mass market vacation: Acapulco. Like its famous cliff divers, Acapulco’s drop from stardom was spectacular. The place that invented the swim-up bar went stale and American travelers started looking to Baja and the Mexican Caribbean.

Since its 1970’s decline, pronouncements of an Acapulco “rebirth” and “comeback” have been more hype than reality. International nonstop air service nearly vanished (there is but one daily arrival). Last week, Mexico’s tourism showcase (Tianguis Turístico) rolled back into an over-the-hill Acapulco. Trade press reported how suppliers, buyers and agents decided to pass on this year’s event. By doing this, they missed experiencing what will become Mexico’s third Riviera: the newly coined Riviera Diamante.

While some development has been here for decades, the branding is new. Adopting the name Riviera Diamante was a brilliant stroke. While Diamante is really a mini Riviera compared to its bigger sisters, the name leverages Mexico’s other Riviera success and gives travel agents and travelers a fresh-faced Pacific Mexico option.

Mexico’s newest Riviera starts south of Acapulco Bay at Puerto Marques and continues for miles along a palm grove shoreline toward the Acapulco airport. Puerto Marques retains its rustic simplicity of beach palapas, roaming vendors and grilled fish-on-a-stick. But it’s also home to four luxury resorts: Quinta Real, Banyan Tree, Camino Real and El Encanto. Beyond these luxury leaders, you can now zoom at 70 miles an hour over the Pacific on Xtasea, the world’s longest (1.8 kms) overwater zip line adventure.

The Riviera Diamante continues as a beachfront corridor of hotels, condos, private residence, shopping and golf. Mexican developers Grupo Mundo Imperial, Grupo Vidanta and Grupo Posadas are the Riviera Diamante’s key players.

Mundo Imperial owns the venerable Acapulco Princess (now the Princess by Mundo Imperial) and renamed its sister Pierre Marques as simply Pierre by Mundo Imperial. Add the flagship Resort Mundo Imperial and guests can now move via shuttle across three spectacular hotels, Mexico’s most modern conference facility (Expo Mundo Imperial) and concert venue (Forum Mundo Imperial). The master plans call for retirement communities, a hospital and assisted living care. Add the Princess/Pierre golf courses (36 holes) a world-class tennis tournament venue and the bustling La Isla shopping/dining complex and airport proximity.

The other big player is Grupo Vidanta. Its four hotels under the brands Grand Mayan, Mayan Palace, Sea Garden, stretch along Costera de la Palmas and sit adjacent to its Jack Nicklaus Design golf course, an Aqua Park, Lazy River and over 16 restaurants and bars. Mexico’s hotel leader Grupo Posadas is building a Grand Fiesta Americana Diamante and luxury condo towers can’t go up fast enough.

Is there room in Mexico’s eclectic resort portfolio for yet another Riviera? Will travelers embrace a return to Mexico’s original beach vacation playground? The Riviera Diamante is a self-contained luxury complex that’s betting it can lure airlines to return, really the only missing piece for this newest Mexican Riviera.

During a conference on how digital technology is changing the face of tourism, Mexico Tourism Board CEO, Lourdes Berho unveiled the new platform for the The site received a complete overhaul that not only includes a new look but a back-end system that can identify user preferences according to how they share on social media, using Big Data to adjust the offerings to what users are looking for.

During the presentation, Jorge Ruiz, Director of Facebook Mexico, also pointed to the importance for destinations and tourism providers to be a part of the digital ecosystem.

Taking a green cue from the UN’s declaration of 2017 as the "International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development", the event organizers took a series of actions making this the very first Tianguis to be carbon neutral.

Among the initiatives was the selection of the Silver EarthCheck-certified Expo Mundo Imperial Acapulco Diamante as host for the event; offering the event program and other information online and via their app to save paper; exhorting exhibitors to choose technology over paper, adequately disposing of their trash and more.

The event also generated a new tagline for the Mexico Tourism Board’s promotional efforts, inspired by the words of UN World Tourism Organization General Secretary Taleb Rifai, a special guest of President Enrique Peña Nieto during the inaugural ceremonies.

An avid admirer of Mexico, whose comments regarding the concept of open borders during the World Trade Market in London have been heard by millions thanks to social media, Rifai referred to Mexico as “a world unto itself.” That description resonated with Lourdes Behro, who presented it as the official tagline during her closing speech. Mr. Rifai was also named Honorary Ambassador for Life of the Mundo Maya.

On the final night of the event, Acapulco authorities “passed the baton” to those representing Mazatlan, the chosen destination for the 2018 Tourism Tianguis.

Mazatlan is already preparing to become the focus of the tourism industry next year. In an interview with Edna Yadira Gutierrez, (Director of Tourism Promotion for the state of Sinaloa), Jose Alberto Ureña Trujillo (CEO of the Mazatlan International Center) and Silvestre Carvajal (Sales Director for Don Pelayo and Royal Villas) indicated large infrastructure investments are already underway.

This includes a sort of rebirth for the destination, sparked by new connectivity that includes additional flights from Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas and Minnesota, along with five new hotels (Holiday Inn, Marriott, and Sleep Inn, among others) added to the already strong offering of 6,000 four- and five-star accommodations ready to welcome attendees, exhibitors and buyers next year.

“During the year, we will also be working to ensure our service providers are prepared as well, offering workshops and training to everyone from housekeeping staff to the transportation, public, urban and tourism services and restaurants,” commented Ms. Gutierrez.

“It’s not just because Tianguis is coming,” mentioned Mr. Carvajal.

“We’ve been hard at work since our occupancy dropped a few years ago and we had to strategize. Part of the plan was the Convention Center, training sessions for providers and attracting recognizable brands to the destination. In the past, 90% of the hotels were domestic, operated by their owners. Today it’s still at 80%, and that’s a peculiarity of Mazatlan. It’s one of our greatest attractions, as it makes our guests more like family and gives us a high rate of return clients.

"It’s a very local, very accessible destination, where locals, as well as tourists, frequent the restaurants and attractions, giving our guests a unique experience where they’re not segregated into a ‘tourist zone.’”

This year’s event showed notable growth over 2016 (final numbers are still being tallied):

10,000 attendees – +6%

44,312 business meetings – +35%

1,608 Buyers – +29%

973 tourism companies – +37%

38 conferences

88 countries participating – 9 more than 2016

3 honored guest invitees: Houston, Pacific Alliance and Canada

#TianguisTuristico hashtag was Trending Topic in Mexico for 14 hours and 1.5 hours on a global level, all positive comments

Improved connectivity of five states in the Mundo Maya plus Oaxaca and Guerrero to enhance the new Maya World Tourism project

MEXICO: Violent City Of Juarez Trying To Change To A Tourism Destination

Juarez had a reputation for being the town where you could do anything and anything could happen.

People used to say Juarez was the better half of El Paso.

Today, that version of Juarez has faded. Cross-border tourism was stifled by the ever-increasing militarisation of the US-Mexico border after the September 11, 2001, attacks, and then all but erased by the violence that occurred between 2008 to 2012.

During that period, Juarez became a place defined by images of burned-out buildings, publicly displayed bodies of people who had been executed, and eerily empty streets it was a city under siege.

After 9/11 nobody would cross over, when hit with the cartel violence, that is when the majority of businesses shut down.

The drug violence, while increasing throughout the 1990s, intensified in 2008 as fighting between the rival Sinaloa and Juarez cartels increased as each group attempted to gain control of the lucrative border city.

According to some, this violence was exacerbated when in 2008 the then-president, Felipe Calderon, sent in 7,000 troops and 3,000 federal police, a national force that operated in Juarez during the city's most violent years.

Every person in Juarez that I have interviewed says unequivocally that the violence was linked to the entrance of the army.

The dates they came and left coincide directly with the beginning and the ends of violence,explaining that the army and federal police were at times found complicit in collusion with cartels and also implicated in widespread human rights abuses.

Others doubt whether the army was the sole party to blame.

They're supposed to take the fight to drug trafficking groups, says InSight Crime, a non-profit foundation reporting on organised crime.

I think that causality is problematic,the increase in federal troops necessarily set the stage for violent confrontations between the two.

There were murders, executions, and evidence of torture everywhere.Violence was the everyday reality in Juarez.

Those were the darkest days in the history of town,back then the city was empty at six [pm]. It was like a ghost town.

According to the Articulo , Journal of Urban Research, between 2007 and 2011 more than 10,000 businesses closed in Juarez and between 2007 and 2009 alone some 230,000 residents fled the city.

In recent years, however, things have begun to change. The streets of downtown Juarez were packed with people. Plaza De Armas was filled with families and dozens of older couples danced in the street to a live street band playing Selena covers.

In the years since 2010 - that year, murders in Juarez topped 3,000 - violence has decreased dramatically.

I wanted to show people that it's not all that dangerous, says Wright, who promotes the tours on his website El Chuqueno featuring news and commentary on El Paso and Juarez. I wanted to show them they were afraid of nothing.

The easing of the violence has clearly led to the return of life to downtown Juarez, if not the return of cross-border tourism.

I used to come over every week," says El Paso resident,a dish locals claim was invented in Juarez. Since the violence, it isn't worth the risk.

In the hopes of increasing tourism, city officials in Juarez have embarked on a campaign to redefine the city's image and spur investment in the once thriving downtown area. In 2015, the "Juarez is waiting for You" campaign was launched.

The purpose of this campaign is to vindicate the city's image abroad and demonstrate the levels of security and peace that we have reached,said Mayor Enrique Serrano, during the campaign kick-off in early April of 2015.

The campaign follows an ongoing development project - the Historic Downtown Urban Development Master Plan - to improve the city's image, restore historic buildings and revitalise the tourist and business district that were decimated by the violence.

Juarez has gained a great achievement in the area of security, Chihuahua Attorney General Jorge Gonzalez Nicolas said during the presentation of the city's crime statistics in 2015. Juarez made it, despite having complex violence problems.

While many welcome attempts to bring tourism and business back to Juarez, others question the celebratory narrative.

We are having a hard time right now with all the violence and killing,noting an increase in violence in 2016 - 90 murders in October made it the deadliest month since 2012 - that led some to fear a return to the earlier years when the murder rate was at its highest. It was getting better and then the killing started again.

Some attribute the rise in violence to the recent arrival in Juarez of the rapidly growing Jalisco New Generation cartel which is competing with the established Juarez and Sinolan cartels.

The entrance of the Mexican military in 2016 and again this year in response to escalating violence is, to some, an ominous sign that another cartel fight may be in the future.

This month, the border city newspaper El Norte de Juarez closed, citing the ongoing violence against journalists including the recent murder of Miroslava Breach, 54, who wrote about organised crime for Norte as reasons for its closure.

According to the Knight Centre for Journalism in the Americas, Mexico is the third deadliest country for journalists.

For many, the perception of Juarez as a "violent city" really began in the 1990s when hundreds of women were killed over the course of the decade.

Just a few blocks from the downtown area, the walls of a former guesthouse are covered with the faces of 50 or more missing young women and dozens of black painted crosses set onto a pink background with the words "Donde Estan?" - meaning "Where are they?" written in large bold letters.

Pink crosses originally marked the spot where someone disappeared or was killed.

From 1993 onwards, Amado Carrillo Fuentes of the Juarez Cartel, substantially increased the volume of cross-border drug trafficking. Homicides, including a substantial number of killings of women that were labelled 'femicides,' increased correspondingly.

The crosses are both a remembrance of the victims but also a warning to other women,referring to the wall, which is a visual reminder of the violence that persists throughout Juarez today.

While many have celebrated the improved security situation in Juarez, others say that there is a long way to go.

When the violence stops, the drug violence, the violence against women, all of it, then, naturally, the tourism will follow.

Just across the border from El Paso, Texas,has long been coveted by Mexico's narco traffickers, representing a gateway into the voracious US drug market.

Fighting for control of Juarez turned it into one of the most violent cities in the world between 2008 and 2012, but, much to the relief of people on both sides of the border, that violence has eased.

During the course of 2016, however, the violence picked up.

But the body count wasn't the only reminder of the bloodshed thought to be behind Juarez.

The arrival of the ascendant Jalisco New Generation cartel, taking up space in the city alongside the resurgent Juarez cartel and the fracturing Sinaloa cartel, leads many to believe that another vicious cartel fight is looming,if it hasn't already started.

The years leading up to 2007 in Ciudad Juarez, home to just over a million people, saw about 200 to 300 homicides a year.

The next year, however, saw a more than fivefold increase, to over 1,600 homicides. That was followed by a jump to more than 2,500 killings in 2009. The bloodshed surged against in 2010, reaching over 3,500 slayings.

The next two years saw declines to about 2,000 and then about 800, respectively but the spike in homicides and the response to it disrupted life there.

The surge in killings was so bad,I would find the mayor, oftentimes, spending part of the day praying for a miracle. The military was brought in, a move that many human rights activists to this day say made the violence even worse.

The deployment of troops and federal police to Juarez was part of a larger shift undertaken in the late 2000s by then-President Felipe Calderon, who emphasized attacking urban trafficking points rather than rural production hubs. This militarization of the anti-drug effort has been linked to more violence, human-rights abuses, and deaths.

The violence continued falling between 2013 and 2015, driven down by civil-society and citizen-security efforts, but also likely by the triumph of the Sinaloa cartel in its fight with the Juarez cartel for control of the plaza, or trafficking territory, in and around the city.

What happened was they killed each other,so many people died that part of the reduced violence was because of the extinction of the cartels' members.

2016, however, witnessed an increase in violence many have attributed to drug-trafficking organizations. The brunt of that increase came in the latter half of the year.

The increase really didn't start this year until about August, so that was after the local election, the state and municipal elections, which took place in July, and then the new people take office in October.

The timing of the spike led many observers to attribute the outburst of killings to uncertainty generated by the changeover in government.

In general the way the system works is the people who are kind of in charge of the major criminal operations in the city, they'll have arrangements with local leadership, both in government and in the police, and then when the government changes, they have to negotiate some kind of new arrangement.

It is clear that with the change of government, there also comes a struggle for control among criminal rackets, especially in Juarez and Chihuahua City.

When a new regime comes, there usually is a 'cleaning of the house' in the criminal world.

Tremors in the government-cartel relationship were not the only drivers, however.

A dispute about the drug trade itself is thought to have spurred on growing conflict between the long-dominant Sinaloa cartel and the remnants of the Juarez cartel that remain active in the city.

The government, in their statements saying that the uptick in violence was due to things happening in the local, domestic methamphetamine trade.

The war is because the Sinaloa cartelwants to sell the crystal and we aren't going to leave, there are orders to do whatever in order to not permit any of that,Jorge, a mid-level enforcer and recruiter for La Linea, the armed wing of the Juarez cartel said.

Mexican authorities in 2016 attributed the spike in violence to disputes over small-scale drug sales, particularly of crystal meth.

Recently, two human heads were found left in a Juarez neighborhood inside coolers,along with a narco mensaje, or narco message. The bodies were found later. The mensaje was, 'this is a warning to anyone who sells crystal meth.'

Added to the lethal mix in Juarez is the reported arrival of the Jalisco New Generation cartel, or CJNG.

Formed around 2010 from a former branch of the Sinaloa cartel in southwest Jalisco state, the eponymous cartel has surged to the top of Mexico's narco hierarchy in recent years.

In the Juarez-El Paso corridor we are beginning to make confiscations and some arrests linked to the CJNG,Will R. Glaspy, a special agent with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and chief of the El Paso division, said.

The operations of the CJNG in this zone represent a new dynamic for us,Glaspy said.

Nueva Generacion and La Linea, aka the Juarez cartel, have formed an alliance to finish off a deeply fragmented Sinaloa cartel and take control of one of the most lucrative routes, the Juarez-El Paso distribution route that supplies chains all over the United States, particularly the southwest, where meth's epidemic is high.

What is interesting is how the Juarez and Nueva Generacion have like a campaign in the city where they say, We're trying to finish off the Sinaloa cartel to try to keep the meth off the streets because the meth is so destructive said a Policeman.

The people that use the crystal only last three years and they die. We are killing people for selling meth and that money is going to us, because that which they spend on crystal they can use on heroin.

Regardless of their sentiments about meth, the cartel competition for Juarez has had clear results.

Through the first six months of 2016, the city saw 166 homicides, according to the Mexican federal government. (Mexican government statistics often understate the number of high-impact crimes like homicides.)

Over that same period, according to Juarez-based newspaper El Diario, there were 192 homicides.

In the latter half of the year, there were 304 homicides, according to government figures, while El Diario recorded 357.

Government data also shows 46 homicides in the city in January, while El Diario reported 54 killings that month and 84 in February, making it the most violent February in the city since 2011.

The year 2016 marked the worst year in homicides in Ciudad Juarez.

The level of brutality and style of killings are reminiscent of that that was seen between 2008 and 2012 between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels.

Many of those killings came in execution-style or drive-by shootings. In late October, a series of multi-person homicides stirred memories of the worst of Juarez's violence a half-decade ago.

Recent months have seen many people, some of them minors, gunned down in their homes or in bars and restaurants. Authorities have discovered dismembered bodies on at least two occasions since Christmas and came across two decapitated bodies in late January.

The spike in killings through 2016 came as Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman — vaunted kingpin of the powerful Sinaloa cartel — languished in jail after his recapture in January, spending much of that time in a prison just outside Juarez.

Guzman was extradited to the US in January, whisked away from Juarez to a jail in New York City in the waning hours of Barack Obama's term. It's not clear why it was timed that way, though Mexicans appear to be unhappy with the transfer.

Guzman now awaits trial in the US.

While he is left to ponder his fate, many in Mexico are looking with dread to the fallout from his extradition, and likely conviction or plea bargain.

In the past, the extradition and sentencing of major Mexico capos has opened vacuums in the Mexican underworld, bringing more violence as those left jockey for power and territory.

USA: Tourism Website For Visit Stratton Lauched

Project Eve LLC is pleased to announce the launch of its newest site, a tourism websitefocused on Southern Vermont.

Using the latest destination marketing techniques to inspire and assist travelers, the new website,, takes visitors on a journey of discovery, enticing them to explore the rich variety of things to do in and around Stratton Mountain and the surrounding area.

The mobile-responsive website was developed in-house and offers a clean, modern design, easy navigation and helpful tools and resources.

Visitors to the site are able to search local business listings, restaurants and retail establishments, activities and accommodations by location, as well as sort and search an in-depth calendar of events.

The site also hosts a blog, which will be used to enhance key tourism campaigns and events throughout the year, driving interest and traffic to the site.

Content will be updated regularly and focus on unique and intriguing insights into visiting and living in Southern Vermont.

The site is fully integrated across all social media platforms.

Locals and visitors alike can add to the website via Instagram by adding #visitstratton to photos of places in the county.

Nowadays, the majoity of tourists use the internet for researching and planning their vacations, noted Meridith Dennes, CEO of Project Eve and Publisher of Visit Stratton.

Given the number of annual skier visits to Southern Vermont, targeting the Stratton region made sense.

Additionally, focusing on off-mountain activities in the surrounding towns not only enables organizations in the tourism and travel industry to substantially improve their online visibility, but also lets internet browsers know that these brick and mortar businesses exist.

About Project Eve LLC

Project Eve LLC is aleadingwomen's lifestyle media companyonline including some of the web's best loved communities including the eponymous Project Eve, Getting Balance, Project Eve Moms, Project Eve Money and Scary Puppy Silly Kitty.

With a digital readership in excess of 8 million monthly uniques, and over 1 million social media followers, Project Eve provides the news and resources toinspire and empower women.

#Media Contact
Company Name: Visit Stratton
Contact Person: Meridith Dennes
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SAMOA: Prime Minister Tuilaepa To Open $1 Million Home For Stray Dogs

No one doubts Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s incredible sense of ingenuity.

Indeed, it seems as if his mind is everywhere at the same time so that you just cannot catch it, no matter how hard you’d try.

But then looking at it closely though, who in his right mind would dare question him? After all, he is Samoa’s Prime Minister, which follows that like the other tyke, the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, he is always right.

Two weeks ago, Tuilaepa spooked everyone when he announced he was officially opening a $1 million home for stray dogs, and that the facility would be named the Dog Management Unit of the Police.

And so, are we hearing right that this one million Tala home, is where the Police would be shown how to manage this country’s stray dogs?

Indeed, are we to assume that they are now quite capable of managing themselves?

Now isn’t that wonderful!

According to Tuilaepa though, the project is part of the government’s efforts to address the issue, of stray dogs.


It is located just down the road from Tafaigata Prison, and it is the result of a partnership between the Ministry of Police, Samoa Tourism Authority and yes, the Animal Protection Society.

And where did the $1 million come from?

The New Zealand government naturally, it’s the perennially relentless giver of aid that this country may as well admit, it cannot possibly do without.

Indeed, Tuilaepa explained that “we are indebted to the government of New Zealand for providing $1 million for the construction of the dog shelter, which we are witnessing this morning.”

Reminded he: “Stray and roaming dogs have long been seen as a very negative influence on visitors experience in Samoa.”

He’s right of course, and no one can dispute that.

He then went on to explain, that “local residents have stories to tell of unpleasant encounters with stray, unrestrained dogs.”

He’s right again.

That way there is no doubt, that the dog control programme his government has begun with the assistance of the New Zealand government that is, is indeed a move in the right direction.

Located just down the road from Tafaigata Prison, it is apparently the result of a partnership between the Ministry of Police, Samoa Tourism Authority and, surprisingly enough, the Animal Protection Society.

Animal Protection Society!

Well, we know quite a bit about that society. In fact, we founded it. The founders were lawyer and businessman, Trevor Stevenson, expatriate Joan Welch, and there was me; our office was at Mrs Welch’s home on the beach at Taumesina, where at any time during the day you were always finding yourself facing the blue, blue sea.

This much is undeniable. There is danger from within the halls of power in Samoa today. It has something to do with unresolved cases of corruption, collusion, abuse and misuse of power hurting the most vulnerable people of this country.

Such have enslaved some of our own people in their own country. Yes their very own country.

Look at the state of farmers, mothers and their poor children and what they have to go through every day just to make a tala.

Look at the growing number of desperate people on the streets begging everyday. We talk about Samoa not having an issue with poverty. Okay then.

Last week, I saw something I’ve never seen in this country before. In a village on the outskirts of Apia, there was a woman walking around naked. She looked like she was mentally ill. Many people would have seen her.

Yesterday, there was a heavy downpour in the middle of the afternoon and then right after, the scorching sun returned with a vengeance. It was heart-breaking to watch beggars, street vendors and the mothers selling goods on the streets scramble to find shelter.

But these are signs of the times.

We ask you to again look at the growing number of Samoans – of all ages - who are being enslaved to run all over town to sell pins, cans of soda, twisties and air fresheners.

Elsewhere, think about the cost of electricity, water and basic services. Think about how expensive they are compared to the minimum wage of $2.30 per hour.

Think about how taxes are hurting everybody, especially when they are being taxed to the bone every day. And what about the idea that these taxes are being reviewed with the real possibility of raising them?

Isn’t it downright cruel then that when we are taxed everywhere we turn in this country today, and yet we find that the cost of living, the cost of basic services and the cost of basic utilities continuing to show no mercy to the downright depleted soul?

UNWTO Accesses Chinese Travel To Africa

Addis Ababa, has recently hosted the 59th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa. Held between 18-21 April, the Commission included a High-level Meeting on Chinese Outbound Tourism to Africa, where regional representatives debated the potential that the sector brings to the continent.

Attended by 21 tourism Ministers from the African continent, the UNWTO Regional Commission for Africa has become the best platform to discuss tourism trends in the continent and the potential that Chinese tourism can induce at regional level.

The attendees also included Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Entertainment of Jamaica and Hongtao Wei, Vice Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration

The 59th edition of the Commission was complemented by a key interactive session on the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development which is being celebrated worldwide through 2017.

“We all come out of Africa, and went on to inhabit the world, making Africa the first source market in history. Africa is the future and Ethiopia is the soul and heart of Africa” said UNWTO Secretary-General Dr. Taleb Rifai, opening the event.

UNWTO Secretary-General received a Recognition Award from H.E. Mr. Muktar Kedir, Minister of Good Governance of Ethiopia to highlight his legacy to promote tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability.

During his intervention, Mr. Muktar Kedir, described his country ´as a unique land where the earliest ancestors of human beings first walks upright, we honestly expect Ethiopia to be one of the prime choices of tourists in the near future that makes them feel safe and enjoy their stay in this yet unexplored land´, he said.

The Commission served to motivate African Member States to undersign the African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism as well supporting the African Caravan on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism led by Morocco through activities to be organized and celebrated during the campaign of the International Year.

China has become a major investor in the African continent, contributing to infrastructure development and reshaping the economic landscape, and is the world´s largest outbound market since 2012 after recording double digit growth in expenditure every year since 2004.

The meeting witnessed a high level of participation not only from African governments but also private sector stakeholders who discussed the dynamics of the Chinese outbound market together with ways to provide guidance for policies and strategies to African Member States, Chinese stakeholders and African businesses.

The event was a combination of keynote presentations from UNWTO, IVY Alliance Tourism Consulting, AVIAREPS and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), interactive panels and roundtable discussions.

The Commission was informed that the 60th CAF will be hosted in Chengdu China within the framework of the 22nd Session of the General Assembly, to be held in September 2017. In addition, members of the Commission unanimously welcomed Nigeria´s expression of interest to host the 61st CAF to be held in 2018.

UAE: Jannah Hotels And Resorts Announces Debut,Hilton Signes Management Agreement With Al Marwan Group

UAE-based luxury hotel operator and developer, Jannah Hotels and Resorts, has announced a new luxury mixed-use development on Al Khan Lagoon, Ras Al Khor, in Sharjah city.

According to the hotel group, the 57 storey property will include a high-end shopping mall, office space, hotel apartments and a new luxury hotel and spa to be called Jannah Al Khan Hotel & Spa.

Announced during Arabian Travel Market, the high-rise development will be the group’s first Sharjah property and is expected to be the tallest building in the city, opening in 2020.

The Jannah Al Khan Hotel & Spa will offer a host of world-class facilities, including a spa, state-of-the-art health club, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, park, children’s playground, plus numerous cafes and restaurants.

According to the developer, the hotel will also boast the largest royal suite in Sharjah, complete with a private pool, terrace with a private dining area, kitchen and large living areas. The hotel will have its own helipad.

Sharjah currently has a number of high profile new hotels and resorts under development, including a new US$100 million (AED 367m) art and culture themed 5-star luxury beachfront hotel and resort; and the US$32.8 million (AED 120.6m) five-star Al Khan Village Resort being developed by Omran Properties.

Meanwhile, Al Bait Hotel, a new 5-star hotel being built by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in the Heart of Sharjah heritage area, is expected to open later this year.

The emirate is seeing growth across all hotel segments with a 200-room Novotel adjacent to Sharjah Expo, a Pullman Sharjah hotel, a Sheraton Four Points hotel and a Starwoood’s Aloft boutique hotel, all under development. Earlier this month, Hilton announced plans to open the 250-room DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Suites in 2020, located opposite to Sharjah’s Al Majaz Waterfront in the centre of the city.

Sharjah has become increasingly popular with overseas visitors with Sharjah International Airport handling 11 million passengers during 2016.

Hilton has signed a management agreement with Sharjah’s Al Marwan Group to open the emirate’s debut DoubleTree by Hilton property opposite Al Majaz Waterfront in the centre of the city.

The US$43 million (AED 158m) development will be called the DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Suites and will offer 254 suites and serviced apartments.

The new hotel, which is expected to open in 2020, will be Hilton’s second property in the emirate after the Hilton Sharjah on the nearby Corniche Road.

Sharjah offers visitors more than 100 hotels and hotel apartment properties and occupancy rates recently beat regional averages, growing by 5.5 percent during January compared to the same month in 2016 (according to global analyst STR).

Some of the leading hotel groups in the world operate properties in Sharjah, including Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, GHM, Louvre Hotels Group, Premier Inn Hotels, Rotana Hotels and Resorts, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, and Wyndham Worldwide

Sharjah currently has a variety of of new hotels and resorts under development, including the construction of a new US$100 million (AED 367m) art and culture themed 5-star luxury beachfront hotel and resort; a 4-star, 200 room Novotel located adjacent to Sharjah Expo; a 4-star Sheraton Four Points hotel; and an Aloft boutique hotel.

In addition, Al Bait Hotel, a new 5-star hotel being built by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in the Heart of Sharjah, is expected to open later in 2017.

The new DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Suites will be built in a prime location opposite one of the city’s most popular tourism and leisure destinations, Al Majaz Waterfront.

The area is one of the Sharjah city’s busiest tourism locations and boasts a wide range of activities, from a splash park and mini golf course for families to quality dining, retail outlets and fountain displays.

Sharjah has become increasingly popular with overseas visitors with Sharjah International Airport handling 11 million passengers during 2016.

A number of large scale leisure and tourism developments are also underway including the restoration of Heart of Sharjah heritage area, a mixed-use development on Maryam Island and the upcoming five-star Al Khan Village Resort.

UAE: Mleiha Desert Resort is First Five-star Desert Resort

Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has grabbed the headlines once again at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM 2017), with the announcement of its “Mleiha Desert Resort”, first five-star desert resort at the heart of Mleiha, and news that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with “Al Wanis”, Qatari tourism company established in Sharjah, to develop the AED 60 million (US$ 16.4m) project.

As part of its unceasing efforts to mark Sharjah as one of the region’s premier tourism destinations and attract maximum overseas investment, Shurooq will be the local partner with “Al Wanis”.

Mleiha Desert Resort will offer a range full hotel services, restaurants, cafés, a health club, swimming pool and many other hospitality facilities associated with a world-class resort.

The new luxury hospitality project encompasses a total area space of 300,000 sqm, of which the “Mleiha Desert Resort” and all its unique facilities, features and unique hospitality services and experiences will encompass a total area space of 60,000 sqm.

The resort will include 45 exclusively designed vacation villas, modelled on classical desert marquees, each with the luxury of its own decking and private swimming pool.

The “Royal Suite”, which is one four living options at the resort, encompasses a space of 167 sqm, and includes two uniquely designed rooms and a private swimming pool.

Additional options include the “King Suite”, expected to encompass a total space of 155 sqm, “Junior Suite”, encompassing a total space of 90 sqm and the “Standard Suite” which offers a unique living on a total space of 85 sqm.

While being entirely detached, with privacy guaranteed, there is still a sense of community, enhanced by a central communal area, fashioned in the same canopy style, where guests can meet and distinguished enjoy hotel services together, as well as a memorable “Sahara”-themed living experience.

Replicating an authentic canvas covering, the awning feature provides the perfect shade to enjoy the tranquility and serenity of the resort, blending in seamlessly with the environment of sublime nature and Arabic heritage.

The new resort, situated at the heart of the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-Tourism Project on a natural landscape between the area’s bespoke dunes and the famous Fossil Rock, is scheduled for completion towards the end of 2019.

Unveiling details of the luxurious Mleiha Desert Resort at an ATM press conference, HE Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, CEO, Shurooq, described the move as a major boost to Sharjah’s ambitious eco-tourism projects, which are set to appeal to a global audience.

Al Sarkal said: “We aim to increase the reach and expand the scope of the emirate’s tourism sector and this new partnership is a highly significant indicator that we are having that impact.

Shurooq has always had a solid and reliable commitment to its partners and the entrepreneurs who have invested in Sharjah and the success they have enjoyed is mirrored in our tourism ventures.”

He added: “The new resort has marked a new milestone in our development efforts for the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism project, since we’ve announced the area’s multiple investment opportunities for hotel and commercial operators many years ago.

Our goals are not simply to encourage investment, but to sustain it. We inform, guide and advise potential partners and provide them with reliable, accurate information to help them make the right investment decisions.

Sharjah increasingly becomes the right decision.”

The number of hotel guests in Sharjah is growing at an annual rate of 13%, while hotel revenues are up by 12.3%. Revenues are expected to reach $187 million (AED 687 million) by the end of this year, and by the end of 2019, that figure is predicted to reach $226 million (AED 830 million).

Four and five-star hotels accounted of 70% of revenues last year, which suggests the majority of investments will focus on those two categories.

Abdulaziz Al Amadi, Board Member of “Al Wanis” tourism company, who co-signed the MoU with Al Sarkal, said: “Sharjah is an extremely attractive business proposition for Arab investors and Qatar is an established partner in many existing ventures.

The Mleiha Desert Resort at the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism project is a unique opportunity that combines the luxury of a world-class destination with the history and heritage that is so important to all countries around the region, particularly those in the GCC.

“It is the perfect fit for our company as we look at not just the ambition and the potential but the activity that is taking place. It is a great incentive to look at the possibility of cooperating on other projects.

Sharjah’s commitment to developing its tourism sector is time, money and effort well spent.”

The signing ceremony took place at a press conference on the second day of ATM 2017, which runs until April 27 at Dubai World Trade Centre.

Commenting on its participation at ATM 2017, Ahmed Obeid Al Qaseer, COO of Shurooq, said: “This also provides the chance for us to highlight some of the other unique projects in our stunning portfolio of hospitality projects, such as Al Bait Hotel, which is being developed within in the Heart of Sharjah, the Kingfisher Lodge in Kalba, Fossil Rock Lodge within Mleiha and Al Badayer Desert Camp.”

The Arabian Travel Market attracts thousands of visitors and tourism stakeholders, professionals and experts from different countries to debate developments in the global tourism industry and discuss the possibility of forging strategic partnerships with their counterparts.

The B2B event is an ideal platform for worldwide industry leaders to promote leisure, business, medical, family and shopping tourism in their countries. ATM 2017 is expected to receive an overwhelming increase from the 28,000 visitors who attended from 86 countries last year, along with 2,800 exhibitors.

Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah’s distinct Arab and Islamic identity.

It is focused on encouraging investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from across the region and around the world.

Shurooq’s key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the emirate, evaluate investment-related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.

TURKEY: Russian Tourists To Turkey Grow,Oslo Airport Opens

Russian tourists decreased in 2016 but number of those visiting relatives or friends and number of visiting special events remained about the same.

However beginning of summer season in 2017, tour operators say outbound travel will grow this year. TUI Russia alone plans to increase travel volume by 3.5 times.

The reasons behind the decline in outbound travel are some events including:


• Oct 2015 - Airplane with Russian tourists crashed in Sinai due to terrorist act. On 6 Nov 2015 Russia stopped civil air communication with Egypt. Not reopened till now

• 11 Oct 2016 – terrorist act in Cairo near St Mark's Cathedral


• 24 Nov 2015 – Turkey shot down a Russian military plane near the Syrian border.

• 28 Nov 2015 – Russia stopped charter air communication with Turkey, lasted till 28 Aug 2016

• Terrorist acts in Turkey in 2016-2017


• Ongoing flow of news about troubles with refugees in Europe

• 14 July 2016 - Truck attack at Bastille Day celebration in Nice (France)

• 19 Dec 2016 - Truck attack at the Christmas Market in Berlin (Germany)

Now in 2017, Russia’s relations with Turkey have entered a revival period. The first charter plane arrived today to Gazipasa - Alanya Airport on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. A total of 189 Russian travelers that purchased holiday package from Coral Travel will enjoy warm and traditional Turkish hospitality at Alanya hotels.

Turkey remains the most popular summer destination for Russian tourists and Turkish people are also happy to welcome them. Russia was the second largest source of foreign tourists visiting Turkey before the crisis that started in late 2015.

As the relations revive, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has announced the possibility of extending the term of visa-free stay for Russian citizens in Turkey. "The period of visa-free stay for Russians in Turkey will be increased from 60 to 90 days," Cavusoglu said in a conference.

Taras Demurai CEO TUI Russia and Ukraine, said that they expected to send at least 200 thousand Russian tourists to Turkey and 150 thousand to other countries. He also said that before the start of the season TUI has sold about 30% of summer tours to Turkey.

According to the news at the website of the Association of Tour Operators in Russia (ATOR), Turkish hotels already started to attract more Russian tourists by offering special discounts around 10-15% especially for the May holidays.

CEO of Biblio Globus tour operator Irina Kostenko commented that this year's Turkey sales during May holiday period are really good thanks to the special offers by Turkish hotels.

Pegas Touristik also confirmed the positive growth of sales during the May holiday period.

Coral Travel said that for the month of May, they reached 82% capacity; a similar amount is achieved in 2015.

No flights to Egypt yet

A year and a half has passed since the downing of the Russian plane in Sinai, but the Russian government is still preventing its citizens from traveling to Egypt.

British flight ban also continues to Egypt, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has a travel warning in place against British citizens traveling to Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport.

Meanwhile, Oslo Airport was officially opened today as Norway’s main airport. The increased capacity is at approx. 32 million passengers annually.

The Minister of Transport and Communications and the CEO of Avinor tied together a ribbon, to symbolise that "Avinor ties Norway together". Solvik-Olsen told the attendees that Norway’s main airport is important to the whole nation.

"Norway depends on a well-functioning main airport. We now have a large international airport that will be the pride of the entire nation. This is a state-run flagship project that has been on schedule and within budget. Avinor can safely be proud of the work put into this expansion", says Solvik-Olsen.

Since construction began in 2011, there has been great focus on not letting the expansion work affect the passengers and airlines.

This has been challenging, as Oslo Airport has experienced an increase in traffic each year, and surpassed 25 million passengers in 2016.

"This is an important day for Norwegian aviation, and we are very proud of the new Oslo Airport. We are happy that it was delivered on time and within budget, while maintaining a high quality.

The thousands of people that have worked day and night since the resolution to expand was made in the spring of 2011 deserve a big round of applause", says Avinor Chairman, Ola Mørkved Rinnan.

Avinor CEO Dag Falk-Petersen said, "We have invested NOK 14 billion in this expansion, and it will make Norway more competitive on an international level. It is important for Norway to have a well-functioning hub, which Oslo Airport is to us, and the profit from this is used to finance the rest of the Norwegian aviation network", says Falk-Petersen and adds:

The airport has almost doubled in size, and the gates have been renamed. This means that even experienced Norwegian travellers should pay close attention to the signs.

Facts about the new Oslo Airport:

Capacity: 32 million passengers annually

New areas: 117,000 square metres

Total area: 265,000 square metres

New gates: 11 new jet bridged gates

New remote aircraft parking spaces: 10

Number of restaurants: 37

Number of kiosks: 10

Number of shops: 21

Friday, 28 April 2017

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Tourists Robbed Some Murdered

An American woman hiking in Papua New Guinea with her London-based boyfriend was gang-raped and three of her fingers slashed in a brutal attack along a famous World War II trail, a report said Wednesday (Jan 13).

PNG police said the pair, both aged 31, were on the Kokoda Track which runs through the jungles of the island state off Australia's northeastern tip when they were attacked and stripped of their belongings including mobile phones, shoes, backpacks and 15,000 kina (US$5,000) in cash.

"Two expatriate tourists, a male and a female, both 31, were trekking the Kokoda Track and heading towards Templeton Two (a campsite) when they were ambushed by armed men," local assistant Police Commissioner Sylvester Kalaut said.

The male trekker was tied to a tree and the female tracker was repeatedly raped before three of her fingers were chopped. The incident took place for an hour before they,trekkers were set free.

Police described the attack as a gang-rape and said at least two suspects carrying bush knives and spears were involved.

One of them was being held by villagers, The National added, which identified the tourists as American and London-based.

The couple fled to a village and were taken to the lawless Pacific island's capital Port Moresby, where they were given medical attention. Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed the attack and added that the couple were hiking without a licensed tour operator.

There are endemic levels of domestic violence against women in the Pacific region, with a 2013 United Nations study finding that 80 per cent of men surveyed in PNG reported physically or sexually abusing their partners.

Two years ago, a US academic was gang-raped by an armed mob in the country while conducting research on birds and the impact of climate change in a remote forest on Karkar Island in Madang province.

In the same year, a group of eight Australian and New Zealand trekkers were violently attacked by bandits, with three of their porters killed, while hiking on the remote Black Cat track.

Four of the eight tourists were also hurt, including one who was speared in the leg.

A group of Australian and New Zealand hikers have been attacked and injured in Papua New Guinea by machete and spear-wielding men, with two guides hacked to death.

The deadly incident happened at dusk on Tuesday after the group set up their tents along the popular and rugged Black Cat Track in the lawless Pacific nation's northern Morobe province, with robbery the suspected motive.

"The attack resulted in the deaths of two PNG nationals who were porters for the group," Australia's department of foreign affairs (DFAT) said.

"Other members of the group, including eight Australians, one New Zealander and a number of PNG nationals, sustained injuries during the attack, however none of the injuries are life-threatening."

PNG police spokesman Dominic Kakas said the porters were hacked to death with machetes and four of the trekkers were badly assaulted, including one who was speared.

One of the expatriates was speared through the left leg, one was slashed on the arm, another suffered severe lacerations to the head and another also had severe cuts, he said.

Some of the other porters were more seriously injured.

There were six people in the group that attacked them, he added, with all escaping.

This was a savage and unprovoked assault by what may have been a gang of thieves, she said, adding that she had been assured authorities in PNG, one of Australia's biggest aid recipients, would fully investigate.

Crime and lawlessness in the poverty-stricken nation is a serious concern, including in the capital Port Moresby where in June four Chinese nationals were hacked to death, with one reportedly beheaded and the others dismembered.

Mark Hitchcock, a spokesman for tour operator PNG Trekking Adventures said the injured Australians were now comfortable and resting.

This is an isolated area, an isolated incident that shocked us all. Totally out of character for the track,he said

This is the first ever trouble that we've had on any track in Papua New Guinea. It's a difficult track, the Black Cat Track, and there have been some issues with other companies a long time ago, but of recent time there's been a lot of development gone into the track since 2005.

While the attack was believed to be a robbery, some reports suggested it could also be related to a disagreement between porters from PNG's lowlands and locals living in the highlands.

The Black Cat Track runs between Wau and Salamaua in northern PNG through leech and snake-infested jungle with precarious drops and potentially dangerous river crossings.

It was the scene of bitter fighting between Australian and US troops and Japanese forces in 1943, and is regarded as one of the most challenging treks in the wild and mountainous country.

Guide book Lonely Planet describes it as "suitable only for masochists and Israeli paratroopers".

DFAT said it was recommending that trekkers avoid the Black Cat Track until further notice.

Four Chinese nationals have been hacked to death in Port Moresby, with one reportedly beheaded and the others dismembered in an attack condemned as “brutal and cowardly” yesterday by Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

O’Neill called for calm after the grisly murders, believed to have been committed with knives or swords in the Koki area of the Pacific nation’s capital on Monday night.

“I condemn this brutal and cowardly attack on the four Chinese nationals,” O’Neill said in a statement.

“I want to assure the government of China and relatives of those killed that police will get all the help necessary to track down and bring the perpetrators to justice,” he added.

The four — three men and a woman — were hacked and stabbed repeatedly by attackers who jumped a high fence outside the bakery they ran near the popular Koki market, according to media reports.


Radio New Zealand cited police as saying one was beheaded and the others were “chopped up,” although this could not be independently confirmed.

O’Neill said it was a “heinous” crime and urged the business community, “especially those of Chinese and Asian origin,” to remain calm and continue business as usual.

“Police have taken full control and an investigation is underway. Business should continue as normal,” the prime minister said.

Chinese migrants first settled the Pacific islands in the 19th century, but an influx of new migrants — some illegal — since the 1980s has seen them become the focus of political unrest.

JORDAN: Golden Triangle Of Tourism,Wadi Rum, Petra And Aqaba Most Affected By Drop In Tourist Arrivals

The drop in tourists is most noticeable in what is known as Jordan's 'golden triangle' of tourism: the sites of Wadi Rum, Petra and Aqaba.

Shaker al-Onaizi started his career in tourism at the age of five by selling postcards to tourists who flocked to the desert expanse of Wadi Rum in southern Jordan.

Now the 24-year-old, like tens of thousands of other Jordanians who rely on tourism for their living, is facing his leanest year. Campsites are empty, and his 4x4 pick-up truck, which once took dozens of visitors on guided tours each day, sits idle.

"If there are tourists, we work and eat. If not, we sleep," Onaizi said as he gazed across the reddish desert.

While tourism in Jordan has been on the decline since the outbreak of the Arab Spring uprisings four years ago, it has witnessed its sharpest drop in 2015, with the number of tourists in the first four months of the year down 40 percent from 2014.

The tourism sector makes up 13 percent of Jordan's gross domestic product, and provides jobs in hotels and resorts for around 49,000 people. This figure excludes members of local communities - Bedouins in Petra and Onaizi in Rum - whose livelihoods are based on tourism.

Officials and experts in the sector attribute the decline to Jordan's prominent role in the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). "We are paying a tax for being in the middle of an inflamed region," said Abul Razaq Arabiat, the head of Jordan's Tourism Board.

In December, ISIL downed a Jordanian jet and captured its pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, in the Syrian city of Raqqa. In February, ISIL released a video showing the pilot being burned alive, sparking angry protests across Jordan calling for revenge and increased Jordanian air strikes against the group in Syria.

Tourism industry leaders say the worldwide publicity created by these events scared off thousands of tourists, prompting tour groups to cancel their bookings to the kingdom.

"The pilot crisis created a perception that Jordan is not safe," said Lina Khalid, director of the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association.

The capture of the pilot happened at around the same time as the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, which Khalid believes also caused thousands of cancellations.

Many French tourists were worried by demonstrations against the cartoons that took place in Jordan,she said

Late last year and early this year, the US and French embassies in Jordan issued travel warnings, asking their citizens to be cautious and to stay away from malls and shopping centres in the country. The travel warnings have "discouraged many Westerners" from visiting Jordan, according to Arabiat.

The drop in tourists is most noticeable in what is known as Jordan's "golden triangle" of tourism: the sites of Wadi Rum, Petra, and Aqaba.

According to Khalid, occupancy of hotels in the region has not exceeded 20 percent so far this year, whereas normally occupancy rates can reach 90-95 percent.

The ancient city of Petra is nearly empty; on one day in early June, just a few dozen tourists wandered its cavernous gorges and rock-carved temples. Out of desperation, children clung to the occasional visitor who passed by, trying to sell them postcards.

Bedouin men and women advertised 50-percent-off sales on silver and antiques, while young men strolled back and forth, treading the same dusty paths with their horses and camels, trying to convince the handful of visitors to take a guided tour.

In Petra alone, 10 hotels have been reported closed this year due to mounting losses, and many have reduced their staff, leaving hundreds of residents jobless.

In Rum village, which has a population of roughly 1,300, people rely mainly on tourism as a source of income, while others work in the military or herd animals.

Onaizi, the tour guide, who dropped out of school at the age of 14 to help his father open one of the area's first campsites, said that unless the industry rebounds soon, he and many of his peers will abandon the sector.

"I have been engaged for a year and a half, and I do not know how long it will take me to build my future home," said Onaizi. In previous years, his camp used to host up to 30 or 40 people a night; now, barely a handful trickle in each week.

In recent weeks, the Jordanian government announced that it was taking measures and adopting an "emergency plan" to address the challenges facing the country's tourism sector.

The measures include waiving the $56 visa fee for visitors staying in the country for a minimum of two consecutive nights, and introducing a new, $100 "all-inclusive" pass for the country's most famous tourist sites, such as Petra, Jerash, and the site where Jesus is believed to have been baptised. Currently, the entry fee to Petra alone is $70.

Jordan's Ministry of Tourism avoids giving clarifications.

But it remains to be seen whether these measures will be enough to counter potential tourists' security concerns.

"Instability around us will remain our biggest challenge," Arabiat said. "Until the regional turmoil calms down, we have to tell the world that Jordan is safe."

Standing on a hill overlooking the flat green plains that stretch between the northern Jordanian town of Ramtha and the Syrian border, Ahmad Abu Sarhan laments the devastating consequences of the Syrian war on his hometown.

"Here, we are living in a state of war - without war," said Abu Sarhan, a 43-year-old shopkeeper.

Once known as the "Sinbads" of Jordan due to their relentless trade and ability to find commercial opportunities abroad, residents of Ramtha, 90km north of Amman, relied on the ancient route to Syria as their lifeline, counting on trade and transport between the two countries for income.

But ever since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in 2011, thousands of Ramtha families have lost their livelihoods, and now struggle to put food on the table. "Our war is economic. We are fighting to feed our children," Abu Sarhan said.

The final nail in Ramtha's economic coffin was the closure of the Jaber-Nassib border crossing after Syrian rebel groups seized it on April 4. Amid the chaos on the Syrian side, armed fighters and civilians reportedly looted the Syrian-Jordanian free zone, with losses estimated at 100 million Jordanian dinars ($140m).

"Overnight, I lost all my business and my staff lost their jobs," said Abdullah Abu Aqoolah, whose car dealership was looted. After boasting a display of 388 cars, he has only six left to his name now.

Nabil Rumman, the manager of Jordan's free zones, estimates that some 7,000 Jordanians - working in logistics, transport and other services - have lost their jobs since the Jaber-Nassib border closure.

The majority of those laid off were from Ramtha, cutting the last sources of income for the border town, while others hailed from the northern Jordanian towns of Irbid and Mafraq, which are also housing an influx of more than 200,000 Syrian refugees.

"It is a blow for the Jordanian economy, but it is the work force that has been hit hardest," Rumman said. Heavy items such as wood and construction equipment survived the looting and have been transferred to the Zarqa Free Zone, according to Rumman.

But for the residents of Ramtha, this was just the latest, and most devastating, of a series of attacks that have gradually taken away their livelihoods.

In 2011, Jordanian authorities closed the Deraa-Ramtha border crossing, a move that cost 3,500 taxi drivers their jobs, according to residents and community leaders. It also gradually blocked the flow of goods such as cotton, food and clothing from Syria to Ramtha's wholesale merchants.

"The economy in Ramtha was on life support for the past three years, but the latest closure has completely killed it," said Abdul Salam Thunibat, head of Ramtha's Chamber of Commerce. The number of active merchants in the border town registered with the chamber declined from 6,500 in 2010, to 1,000 in 2015, according to Thunibat.

"They cannot afford to pay rent, taxes, and salaries when there are no goods coming in," Thunibat said, adding that some merchants have turned to Turkey and China to import from, shouldering higher transportation costs.

By midday in Ramtha, most shops remain shuttered, with no local demand to encourage them to open. Even the local butcher offers his customers an economic choice between "fresh meat" or days-old "leftovers", due to declining demand and purchasing power.

The Syrian war has not only cut off the border town's lifeline. It has also brought an influx of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, who have strained the local infrastructure in Ramtha and flooded the labour force with cheap, skilled labour that out-price Jordanian workers.

Rihab Krasneh, 37, shut down her 15-year-old hair salon in Ramtha after her customers turned to Syrian hairstylists who offered half-price services in their own homes. "They do not pay for rent or taxes, so whatever they earn is profit," Krasneh said.

Locals blame the Jordanian government for not doing enough to create job opportunities or improve the services and infrastructure that have been burdened by the Syrian crisis. Before the Syrian war, Ramtha's population stood at 90,000. With the influx of refugees, it has ballooned to 160,000, according to Ibraheem Saqqar, head of Ramtha's municipality.

The Jordanian government received $216m in aid to help the country cope with the pressure placed on them by the Syrian crisis. But Ramtha locals say the government has not properly allocated the funds. "We still have only one hospital. No more schools have been built, and no job opportunities were created with this aid money they talk about," Saqqar said.

The only noteworthy addition to the town has been the establishment of two new cemeteries donated by a local charity, after the war raging a few kilometres away filled up Ramtha's burial plots.

The only "breathing space for families", a community garden known as King Abdullah Gardens, was long ago converted into a camp for Syrian refugees.

Jordanian officials, however, say that aid money is not sufficient to solve the problems caused by the Syrian crisis.

With Jordanian border towns suffering economically and coping with a doubling of the population, they say their needs are too great and the donations too few. With so much need, they say it is difficult to know where to allocate the limited funds.

"Regardless of how much you do, it is not going to have an impact because the sheer numbers of refugees are enormous," Hassan Assaf, governor of Irbid,said. "If I have a million dinars, will it be enough to build a school, hospital, or fix streets?"

Meanwhile, the sounds of the Syrian war, which has killed 210,000 and displaced 3.7 million Syrians, continue to echo in Ramtha.

Every night, the crack of gunfire and the low rumble of shelling from Syria interrupts their sleep, while the occasional mortar shell falls on Jordanian soil. Luckily, the errant mortars have caused no casualties, but several Ramtha residents have been wounded over the past four years.

And lately, pictures of civilians and armed groups looting the free zones have been circulating over mobile phones. To protect their children from the echoes of war, Abu Sarhan and his wife used to tell them that the sounds of shelling were fireworks from celebrations.

But now as the children "go to school with Syrian children who tell them horrific stories about the shelling", the war has crept into their home as well.

JORDAN: Jordan Hosts AdventureNEXT Conference 15-17/ May

Jordan will on May 15-17 host AdventureNEXT Near East, the first conference to develop ecotourism and travel throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

The event - organized with the support of Jordan's tourism and antiquities ministry and the Jordan Tourism Board - will be held alongside the inauguration of the 650-km Jordan Trail, which will cross 52 villages across the country. The Jordan Trail is expected to lead to economic growth for the local communities.

Taking part will be tourism boards, travel agents and representatives of hotel facilities strongly supporting sustainable, responsible and adventure tourism that are members of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), a body that has 1,100 associates in 90 countries.

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Lina Annab Tuesday said Jordan's largest tourism investments are located in Amman, the Dead Sea and Aqaba, pointing out that the value of current investments in Aqaba and the Dead Sea amount to about JOD16 billion.

Annab is heading the Jordanian delegation participating in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2017 in Dubai, running through Thursday with the participation of 159 countries.

She told Petra that most recent include the Ayla Oasis, which includes the first 18-hole golf course designed by the legendary golfer Greg Norman, Saraya Aqaba and Marsa Zayed, in the southern port of Aqaba.

Annab said Amman is currently witnessing significant tourism investments, such as the St. Regis and Fairmont hotel projects and the Abdali Boulevard project, which includes Rotana hotels and a chain of international restaurants.

ATM 2017 will welcome over 2,600 confirmed exhibitors – with 100 exhibiting for the first time – across 65 national pavilions, and an expected number of visitors of 30,000.

Weeks after last month's deadly castle siege in the Jordanian city of Karak, police maintained a daily presence in an armoured Jeep in the heart of the capital Amman.

A helmeted police officer constantly manned the heavy machinegun affixed to the Jeep's roof, scanning cars and pedestrians as they navigated through the central neighbourhood of Jabal al-Weibdeh. Other officers stopped and searched vehicles and pedestrians, a patrol that continued up until last week.

A vibrant neighbourhood comprising Jordanian Muslims, Christians and foreigners, Jabal al-Weibdeh is in many ways an example of the tolerant image that Jordan wants to project to the world - while the heavy, yet temporary police presence illustrates the fine line that Jordan must tread between visible security and not deterring tourists.

In 2015, tourism contributed 6 percent directly to Jordan's GDP, and more than 20 percent indirectly, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

After the Karak siege, the United States warned its citizens of "threats from terrorist groups throughout Jordan", adding to fears about the impacts of the attack on Jordan's tourism sector.

The modern Jordanian tourism industry was born out of conflict - in particular, Israel's capture and occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, said Suleiman Farajat, an assistant professor of tourism at the University of Jordan.

"When Jordan lost the West Bank in 1967, it became very important to focus on Jordanian sites in the east, starting from Petra, where the first management plan was done in 1968," Farajat told Al Jazeera.

With the rise of oil in the region in the 1970s, the inscription of Petra as a World Heritage Site in 1985, and the filming of 1989's Indiana Jones in Petra, Jordan's international profile rose. The country's peace treaty with Israel in 1994, Farajat said, was a real turning point "when numbers of tourists doubled, and when the infrastructure of tourism became more visible".

But subsequent regional conflicts, including the 2003 Iraq war and the ongoing violence in Syria and Iraq, have heavily impacted Jordan's tourism industry, causing tourist numbers to fall. Visitor numbers to Petra were halved between 2014 and 2015, dropping from 800,000 to 400,000.

Tourism industry workers are concerned about what lies ahead. Ahmad, a tour guide who works at the Greco-Roman ruins at Jerash - which were also under tightened security after the Karak siege - has witnessed the steady decline in numbers first-hand.

Since the outbreak of Syria's civil war in 2011, he estimates there has been an 80 percent drop in tourists to Jerash.

"In the high season, we used to do up to five tours a day, each tour guide. Now in the high season we do one every day, sometimes one every two days," said Ahmad, who did not provide a last name.

He noted that his profession faces a secondary threat from the increased automation of tour-guide services, including cheaper, headphone audio-guided tours.

When they do come to Jordan, tourists' demographics have also changed, Ahmad said including the replacement of "retirees, Americans, Europeans, on a regular, or traditional tour", with younger, often poorer, tourists.

"This is reflected in the budget of the tourist. Mostly, the majority come here on a tight budget," he explained, noting that entrance fees to some of Jordan's tourist sites may be prohibitively high. A one-month entry visa to Jordan costs 40 Jordanian dinars ($56), while the entrance fee for a one-day visit to Petra is 50 dinars ($70).

When Ahmad began working as a tour guide in 2010, it was a coveted career, he said.

"In the past it used to be a full-time job, and they used to make very good money. It was the best job to do in Jordan. Some professors left teaching in universities and became tour guides," he explained. "But now it's the opposite. Tour guides are looking for other jobs."

As many tour guides struggle to maintain a steady income and morale plummets, Farajat said, this "indirectly influences the quality of service and the culture of service", harming Jordan's competitive advantage in the international market.

Still, with attacks being staged everywhere from Paris to Berlin, tourists are realising that "it could happen anywhere," Ahmad noted.

"We had the attack in Karak, and the attack in Germany. How many people were killed here, and there? In Jordan, 10. In Germany, 12," Ahmad recalled telling a group of young, western tourists in Karak on the day of last month's siege.

If you talk about terrorism, now it's everywhere in the world. So there's no point in avoiding this country or that, because it can happen in every country.

Farajat cited the importance of tourism as a way to counter Islamophobic narratives in the West.

It's very important in this time of Islamophobia, that tourists come here and see that we are normal people. We don't bite, he said with a laugh. That's important, right?

Certain areas of Jordan, especially the tourist draws of Jerash, Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba - may be hit hardest by any fallout from the Karak siege.

But Tourism Minister Lina Annab, who kept her post in this month's cabinet shuffle, played down reports of declining tourist numbers during a recent news conference.

"It's business as usual and the cancellations have been minimal. Unfortunately, as for danger, there is no place that is 100 percent safe," Annab said. The tourism ministry did not respond to requests for further comment.

When spring finally arrives, bringing warmer weather and wild-flower-covered hills, Ahmad and his colleagues hope more tourists will flock back to the country.

Until then, they must persevere, returning to Petra yet again without knowing whether the next day will bring work.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Tours And Adventures In Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is full of interesting attractions, magnificent natural scenery, and diverse cultural heritage. Spend your Papua New Guinea holiday trekking remote jungle tracks, cruising the mighty Sepik river, surfing the waves of New Ireland, fishing around the fiords of Tufi or diving amongst the coral reef coastline.

Papua New Guinea Tours

The spectacular natural beauty of Papua New Guinea awaits the keen natural adventurer. We have tour operators who can arrange guided tours around Papua New Guinea to see the impressive variety of exotic birds, including virtually all of the known species of birds of paradise, the diverse plant species, cascading waterfalls, lush rainforests, an active volcano even a climb on one of the mountains that soars over 5,000 meters.

This mountain creates a myriad of micro climates and an astonishing diversity of plants and animals, with the range of vegetation including mangrove forests, lowland rainforest, alpine vegetation, grassland and savanna woodland. These forests have a wide variety of different habitats.

Papua New Guinea is geographically remote with some of the most stunning natural scenery anywhere. The country has areas that are described as biodiversity hotspots. Papua New Guinea has 11,000 known species of vascular plants, 200 species of ferns and over 1,200 species of trees.

Over half of these are endemic to PNG. PNG is also home to 760 species of birds, 445 species of which dwell in the rainforest areas. Papua New Guinea boasts more parrot, pigeon and kingfisher species than anywhere else in the world.

There are no less than 90 species of snakes, 170 species of lizards, 13 species of turtles, nearly 200 species of frogs, 445 species of butterflies, 250 species of mammals including the world’s largest bat, many tree kangaroos and the world’s largest species of crocodile!

The floral diversity found in Papua New Guinea is immense. For example, PNG is renowned for its enormous variety of orchids - there are 3,000 known species found here with countless varieties undoubtedly yet to be discovered.

From the rugged mountains to the coastal islands, a journey to this country is an adventure of a lifetime. This adventure will fulfill all your fantasies about PNG’S lush rainforest, magical tropical waterfalls, picturesque streams and unique species that cannot be found nowhere else on Earth.

Tucked away in these lush rainforests and steep gorges are caves that have excited cavers because they were literally the first to explore them! These caves are not frequented, meaning you could be one of the first to explore one of these caves!

Visits can also be made to sacred caves that have been traditionally used for burying the dead.

Where tribal living is still the norm, and practices dating back thousands of years are still pursued, the natural attractions of this country are also not exploited and are still in their natural splendor for anyone to savor.

Village Tours in Papua New Guinea

The best way one can experience authentic Papua New Guinea is through the hospitality, stories and beautiful smiles of the Papua New Guinea people and their lifestyles.

We have a number of tour operators providing Village Tours up in the highlands and along the coastal villages. Village tours include highlights such as traditional bilum (basket) making in Madang, the traditional bride price ceremonies in East New Britain, traditional shell money (MIE) makers in New Ireland, yam harvesting in Milne Bay, scarification for manhood in the Sepik province and ceremonial dancing in the Highlands region.

Different delicacies and food preparations can be compared around the country, as they all can be done differently according to the cultural lifestyle and the typical weather patterns experienced throughout the destination.

Village tours in Papua New Guinea will introduce you to the different traditional food offered by the local people, their unique way of life, the different locations (surrounded by the most pristine tropical waters and the untouched nature), the warm welcome you'll receive and the friendliness given to any visitor by the local people from children to adults.

Village tours are offered all year round as it is usually cooler up in the highland and fairly warmer on the coastal part of the country. Many village tours in Papua New Guinea occur after or before a day of diving, surfing, birdwatching, boat cruise or trekking.

Helicopter Tours in PNG

From the spectacular volcanic tours around the Simpson Harbour in Rabaul to an aerial tour of the Madang north coast and to the icons of our world famous Isurava memorial on the Kokoda trail, hold your breath and enjoy magnificent panoramic views of Papua New Guinea. Take a helicopter tour to a PNG cultural event happening in a specific province, to understand the beauty that encapsulates and defines the cultural groups from that area of the country.

Appreciate and compliment your Papua New Guinea tour with an aerial photograph of your own to remember your experience forever.

World War II Tours

The fierce fighting between the Japanese and the Allied forces during World War II has created a momentous historical story for Papua New Guinea. Today, many war relics remain scattered throughout many parts of PNG, with sunken war ships, aircrafts, tanks and bombers and cemeteries that stand as a crucial token of our respect for those who fought and passed on with honour.


Many rusting relics are visible at Lombrum, which was a huge American naval base during WWII.

East New Britain

The graves of over a thousand allied war dead are in the grounds of the Bitapaka War Cemetery, located off the coast road past Vunapope.

At Karavia Bay between Kaluana Point and Vulcan are networks of Japanese barge tunnels and tracks that date back to the war. Lined up, end-to-end are five barges in the main tunnel. Some of the 580km of tunnels built by the Japanese are still open. Aircraft wreckage is found beyond the old airport.


Reached by boat from Vanimo or rough road from Wewak, Aitape was once a German station and later used by the Japanese during WWII. Tadji Airstrip still has aircraft wreckage from the war. A B-24 Bomber stands outside Aitape High School between the airstrip and town.

East Sepik

Japanese war relics can be seen at Brandi High School, east of Cape Moem army base. Bomb craters are still visible around Boram Airport runway and the disused airport near town. The rusting remains of Japanese landing barges lie on the beach between Kreer market and the hospital.


Crucial during the war, Salamaua has war relics as well as fishing, swimming, snorkeling and walking to Coastwatcher’s Ridge. Located within the Botanical Gardens is peaceful, well-kept cemetery of young Australians, known as the Lae War Cemetery.


Most war relics and sites are scattered around Popondetta, and the coastal areas of Buna and Gona.

City Tours in Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby

Port Moresby is the heart of Papua New Guinea. Situated on the western coast of the mainland peninsula, your journey will take you to the famous Kokoda Track, the Variarata National Park and the Hiri Moale Festival. Port Moresby is a place for more than 800 languages and home to a thousand tribes with unique cultures.

One can only marvel at how a city so small is so full of life, surrounded by small islands, blessed with vast cultures and a mixture of both the past, present and future lifestyle in one single environment. Not forgetting the Jackson’s International Airport as the gateway for international travelers to Papua New Guinea and the heart of the country’s domestic air services.


Lae city is the second largest industrialized city in Papua New Guinea. Here you can witness the famous Morobe Show, and discover the botanical gardens, war cemetery, amazing rainforest habitats and a mixture of arts and crafts in the local markets.

Rainy Lae, as the locals say, not only offers the true colors of Papua New Guinea but the unique experience one can encounter in this land of the unexpected. A tour of the city will show you the natural beauty of this fast-developing city.


Madang is widely known as the home of the flying foxes, the city offers a variety of activities. Sightseeing,village tours, historical monuments,kayaking, diving, snorkelling, cultural singsings and island hopping, all surrounded by the Bismack Sea.

Madang town offers the perfect opportunity for a tourist to travel without a fear in the world as you will be surrounded by warm welcoming smiles of locals that will enable you to sense the spirit of friendship, warmness and kindness in the heart of Madang.


A little-known town in the outskirts of Rabaul, Kokopo is home to the famous fire dance, tubuans and volcanoes that await the explorers of the world. Kokopo also offers a variety of other attractions such as visiting historical monuments, diving, cultural shows, local markets, island tours and fishing.

Enjoy the opportunity to mingle with the locals on every corner of your Papua New Guinea travel and be offered a bite of their traditional food, “agir” that is so nutritious and delicious. Kokopo is the place of tropical colors through their ‘meri blaus wear’, the color of their hair, their smiles and the beautiful natural environment surrounding the town.

Snorkelling in Papua New Guinea

It is inarguable that diving in Papua New Guinea is a leading market for tourists. Similarly, when visiting this exquisite paradise, one cannot deny that snorkelling is just as exciting. Almost everywhere you travel when coming to PNG, you will find the perfect location with an equally perfect opportunity to snorkel.

Buka, the provincial capital of the formerly known North Solomons has great fishing, swimming and snorkelling in the clear waters of the Buka Passage. Tourists are warned that there are strong currents, so seeking local advice is the safest means to a great snorkeling experience. Many small islands near the southern end of the passage are great areas to discover as well.

In Manus, most of the north coast is bordered with a reef. It has excellent visibility, and a huge variety of corals, fish and wartime wrecks. Snorkeling off the north coast on the Andra and Ahus islands is good, where Papua New Guinea accommodation is also provided.

The long, narrow island group of New Ireland possesses attributes such as a stunning coastline with white sandy beaches and excellent snorkeling sites. War wrecks, big fish, coral and sharks are some of the things to be seen here. Dive operators include Lissenung Island Resort, Mansava Adventure Lodge on Tsoi Island, Scuba Ventures and Nusa Island Retreat.

Kimbe Bay in the West New Britain is famous for its huge corals, large fish and caves. This location would be best suited to diving fans, but snorkeling is recommended at Walindi.

East New Britain’s Simpson Harbour holds WWII boat and plane wrecks, good walls and the Beehives a small group of craggy islands to explore. Superb for snorkeling on the flat coral beds, Submarine Base at Tavui Point shows where Japanese subs pulled right up to the edge of the reef.

The Milne Bay Province’s very own East Cape offers excellent diving and snorkeling with gorgeous beaches and scenery en route to the cape.

Tufi at Cape Nelson (Oro Province) has exceptionally clear waters, abundant fish and beautiful corals in its fiord-like rias. There are easily accessible wrecks and reefs with drop-offs, hammerhead sharks and moray eels.

Loloata Island is a pleasant retreat from Moresby that lies off Bootless Bay and offers fishing, sail boarding, relaxing, diving and, of course, snorkeling. Here you’ll discover many more unique species of living matter in the clear waters surrounding the beautiful island.

Kayaking in Papua New Guinea

Discover a different side of Papua New Guinea that few ever see.

The water surrounding the coastline of the mainland Papua New Guinea and the close to 600 different islands of Papua New Guinea provide a more unique and scenic kayaking experience than any other.

The beauty you witness when kayaking in Papua New Guinea will take your breath away. There is no better way to explore the different islands of Papua New Guinea than through the various kayaking journeys that can take you to the more remote and uninhabited islands.

A number of Papua New Guinea tour operators provide kayaking along the respective coastline of the New Ireland province, Madang Provinces, East New Britain Provinces and the fjords of Tufi. Papua New Guinea kayaking tours take you along secluded coastlines where you often encounter sea turtles, schools of playful dolphins, mackerel jumping 20 to 30 feet in the air - all in their natural environment.

Kayaking in Tufi is tranquil through the fjords which are over 100 meters deep. Some of the cliff faces are over several hundred feet high, with waters sheltered from the prevailing winds and the surface of the water like glass. Magnificent rainforest canopies cover the surrounding mountains and even along the shores are several local huts tucked away in an idyllic setting.

One thing that stands out throughout any kayak adventure is the people of Papua New Guinea. Smiles are usually all around as you pass the numerous villages and the waving hands of the locals show the vibrancy and openness that the people want to share with every visitor that kayaks pass.

Tours are offered all year around, but the best months, especially for first time kayakers, are from April to November as the seas are generally calmer that time of the year.

Stunning coastlines, pristine tropical waters teaming with sea-life and colourful coral reefs are just waiting to be discovered during your Papua New Guinea travels.

Bird Watching in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is a bird watchers paradise! There are many locations throughout PNG where you can see the beautiful species of birds in Papua New Guinea, including the different species of the famous Birds of Paradise found only in PNG. For a handy guide to our amazing birds of paradise, click A Pocket Guide to Birds of Paradise of Papua New Guinea.

The variety of locations available in Papua New Guinea provides endless opportunity for birdwatchers. It is understood that PNG is home to such a thriving bird population due to specific habitats and climates favoured by our endemic species and the lack of predatory animals that would otherwise threaten numbers.

Birding is available throughout the country from coastal and island locations right up to the rugged peaks of our highlands with diversity of bird life. PNG is particularly famous for endemic species such as the Raggiana and Blue Birds of paradise and rare find including the Fire maned Bowerbird.

Visitors are excited by the prospect of sighting any special species from the enigmatic Crested Berrypecker to the elusively rare Beck's Petrel to the stunning Victoria Crowned Pigeon.

Birding Seasons Tours Operators run specific birding tours mainly during the dry season, from June to October, however independent birding journeys are available anytime.

Birds are found everywhere, including the City. The PNG Tourism Promotion Authority with support from the National Capital District Commission have released a mini-pocket guide to the Birds of Port Moresby. Some 400 species of birds have been found in the environs of Port Moresby, within two-and-a-half hours drive of the City.

Boat Cruises in Papua New Guinea

The wonders of Papua New Guinea never cease to impress even the well travelled. Offering a multitude of ideal boat cruising experiences, there is no better way to explore a country where little has changed over centuries.

Rich in culture and ethnic diversity, Papua New Guinea promises to reward cruise enthusiasts with unforgettable sights and sounds.

Boat Cruising in Papua New Guinea is particularly relaxing, since island life is slow-paced and informal. Cruise vacations are not only packed with a multitude of on-board activities, they also set in motion the opportunity to explore and discover the Papua New Guinea culture and history of this last great frontier.

While international cruise liners frequent Papua New Guinea waters on an annual basis, our coastal water cruise boats also offer the opportunity for visitor cruises up the mighty Sepik River or to our magnificent island provinces.

PNG Boat Cruises

The Sepik Spirit is Trans Niugini Tours' deluxe "floating lodge".

Originally commissioned as a vessel for cruising the Sepik and Karawari Rivers, the Sepik Spirit is now permanently moored at a strategic site on the Sepik River and offers PNG accommodation.

In its new role as a "floating lodge" fixed in the middle Sepik, the Sepik Spirit offers greater booking flexibility, enhanced touring programs and even more comfort. Returning travelers will note the updated decor. As for the Sepik Spirit's renowned hospitality, some new flourishes have been added.

From their base on the Sepik Spirit, guests explore the Sepik River and the connecting tributaries and lakes on eighteen seat jet-boats. These boats have shallow drafts and the ability to maneuver where large vessels cannot go.

Here in the remote middle Sepik region, life continues as it has for centuries. Meet the people who live in the villages. Talk to them about daily life. Walk pathways amongst their homes built from materials that grow nearby. Listen for the calls of exotic birds.

Visit Spirit Houses decorated with carved ancestral figures. Hear the sounds of massive garamut drums, mysterious ritual flutes and dancers' jangling shell jewelry. Sepik Spirit guides and village elders will give you insight into the culture, totems and ceremonies.

Marvel at the creativity that thrives in this tropical environment. The region is a gallery of tribal art. Every village boasts its own style and nearly every villager is an artisan.

After a touring on the river, guests return to the comfort of the Sepik Spirit's air-conditioned lounge, bar and dining areas. The outdoor spaces include a covered and screened upper level deck.

The Sepik Spirit's nine guest rooms accommodate a maximum of just eighteen guests. Each room has an en-suite bathroom, large windows and personally controlled air-conditioning.

The Sepik Spirit is accessible by Trans Niugini Tours' air service. Flights depart from either Mount Hagen where Rondon Ridge is located and from Karawari Lodge and Ambua Lodge. Charter flights from other departure points can be arranged.

The Kalibobo Spirit is a luxurious motor yacht that can carry a maximum of 16 people. The expeditions are limited to 12 persons and travel with an experienced crew. It has a helipad for convenient transfers and excursions to remote areas. The Helipad is certified for Jet Ranger, Hughes 500 and R44 type helipads.

For excursions on the Sepik River, the Kalibobo Spirit has purpose built aluminum 20 passenger speedboat, powered by a 200hp Yamaha engine, to provide excursions along the tributaries; the Murik and Chambari Lakes.

In addition to the speed boat, the Kalibobo Spirit carries two zodiacs that are used in open water for up to 8 people in each boat. The Kalibobo carries a Bauer compressor, tanks and all equipment for up to 8 divers. Snorkeling equipment is also carried for the use of passengers.

All passengers diving must hold a recognized diving certificate. There is no decompression chamber abroad the vessel.

Orion is based out of Australia and does visits to Papua New Guinea twice a year. She is a purpose built vessel all in 5 star luxury designed to access the inaccessible. She has combination of the best and the latest in design with maritime and environmental technology, comfort and casual elegance.

All Orion’s staterooms feature ocean views and offer internet access, flat-screen TV, DVD/CD, a choice of twin and queen sized beds, a sitting area and marble bathrooms. Other onboard amenities include a health spa with gymnasium, sauna sun deck Jacuzzi and a stern marina platform.

Orion offers a range of included and optional Shore-side Expeditions designed to enhance the destination exploration for guests. As part of Orion’s commitment to offering guests an enriching experience, on board speakers have been selected for their knowledge and expertise on the regions that visit.

Her innovative expeditions are varied with seasons, in autumn (March and April) visiting in remote and un-spoilt parts of Papua New Guinea and Melanesia. Returning in spring (October and November) to Papua New Guinea and explore Australia’s East and South Coast.

Fishing in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea’s fishing grounds have always been protected by the ever-changing tropical climate, keeping its secret from intruding anglers.

It is only recently that fishing enthusiasts have discovered that Papua New Guinea is teeming with isolated fishing grounds and untouched rivers, offering the some of the best lure in the world. With so much fishing within range, on any given day, anglers can enjoy a variety of world class sport.

In dense jungle rivers, our world renowned champ, the mighty 'lure shy' Papua New Guinea Black Bass, will challenge any intruding angler who attempts to toss their trespassing lures in its habitat.

Another remarkable fish is the river tiger, which is found nowhere else in the world. If you think you are an expert angler, be warned you have not met your match. The 'Blacky' is a persistent, mean monster that will put an expert angler back to the novice class!

If you’re after a less challenging Papua New Guinea adventure, try out the Barramundi. With river fishing, you have the opportunity to meet the locals and if you are lucky, you might see a traditional singsing.

Relax on the river, where you can simply enjoy being alone in the pristine jungle, away from all the worries of everyday life. If Barramundi is your game, stay at the remote Bensbach Lodge near the border of Irian Jaya.

For those who prefer the ocean, the underwater predators of Papua New Guinea's Bismarck and the Archipelago Seas are poised to erase any memories of an angler's past catch. Our seas are littered with challenging catches such as Dog tooth tuna, Sailfish, Yellow fin tuna, Marlin and plenty more that will make you go 'wow'.

The coastal waters around the Madang, East and West New Britain and New Ireland areas abound in blue and black marlin, sailfish and dogtooth tuna. In the waterways near Kandrian, freshwater fisherman can take on the famous Papuan Black and Spot Tail Bass found only in Papua New Guinea. There's saratogo and ox eye herring to play with too.

Get serious and start planning your Papua New Guinea holiday and fishing venture into some of the country's unknown grounds for that big bite.

Surfing in Papua New Guinea

As a surfing destination, Papua New Guinea is relatively new to surf enthusiasts, but the breaks are quickly becoming known for providing a great challenge that will keep surfers entertained for days!

PNG has unlimited surfing potential year-round. On the southern side, 10 minutes out of Port Moresby is Sero Board Riders Club (Taurama Point) where the main barrier reef stretches along the southern seaboard all the way to the Milne Bay Province. You might be surprised to find that breaks here are just as challenging and exhilarating as in any other location.

PNG has unlimited surfing potential from October to April during monsoon seasons and thousands of miles of coastline just waiting to be explored- not to mention breath taking scenery and pristine atolls. Located just south of the equator and 100 miles to the north of Australia.

PNG enjoys warm warm waters and consistent waves, complemented by the rich and diverse traditional culture time of it's people in it's premier surf destinations of Vanimo, Wewak, Madang and New Ireland provinces.

Great surfing isn't all that PNG offers. The same winds that surfers enjoy also make for perfect kite surfing which is relatively undiscovered. The warm waters of PNG are uncrowded and ideal for kite enthusiasts. The reef breaks provide great action for wave rider, while the pristine blue lagoons lure flat-water fans.

Visit PNG from late May through to November to take advantage of the Laurabada trade winds, providing consistent 10.25 knot winds. Kite surfers should focus their attention on the southern part of PNG. Areas around Port Moresby and Milne Bay have optimal conditions and stunning scenery.

Fifteen minutes from Port Moresby, Sero beach's large lagoon gives way to a surf break 500 yards out. Daugo Island is a 20 minute boat ride from the Port and one of the best local spots to kite surf. Two hours down the coast, Hula is a large peninsula that receives the full brunt of Laurabada winds, creating the optimal environment for kite surfers.

Other surfing spots in Papua New Guinea are being explored around the Milne Bay area, Bougainville Island and the Gazelle Peninsula in the East New Britain, which has quality waves ranging from 3 to 6 feet along the coral atolls, including point and beach breaks. With consistent south east winds up to 25 knots, kite surfing is also becoming popular with conducive conditions for this fast-growing sport.

The successful controlled development of Papua New Guinea tourism and benefits afforded to locals through the Surf Association Abel Reverse spiral management scheme created over the last 22 years has resulted in a unique and unprecedented approach to the creation of an equitable and sustainable surf tourism model that can be applied to other niche tourism sectors around the globe.

This model has caught the attention of the World Bank through the IFC who funded the SAPNG Strategic Master Plan. The SAPNG is now embarking on their draft stage of their Bill for an Act of Parliament known as the SAPNG Surf Management and Development Act.

Papua New Guinea accommodation and transport is readily available from Vanimo Beach Hotel, Sandaun Motel and Vanimo Surf Club located on the door step of Vanimo’s premier surf location at Lido village, with offshore conditions either on the left or right all day long depending on wind direction.

Around Kavieng in New Ireland Province are numerous reef setups which provide several good and varying surf breaks. Just off Kavieng town is Nusa Island Retreat, an environmentally low-impact facility that provides PNG accommodation, meals and boat transport to the surrounding islands. Breaks here range from 3ft to 8ft.

The waves in this region and around Nusa Island Retreat, limits number of surfers staying at any one time and is often fully-booked during the surf season.


There are currently 10 Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea affiliated Surf Clubs in Papua New Guinea – Kavieng, Vanimo, Sunset, Waromo, Yako, Tupira, Sero, Central New Ireland, Dolf and Taurama.

Further information for those planning a visit to surf in Papua New Guinea can be obtained by contacting the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority in Port Moresby

Diving in Papua New Guinea

Diving in the exotic and unexplored waters of PNG

Papua New Guinea is one of the best dive destinations in the world.

The coast of Papua New Guinea is home to some of the world's most spectacular diving - dubbed as the 'underwater photographer's paradise', with many international award-winning photos being taken in PNG waters.

Located in the Indo-Pacific Area, experts say that the oceans surrounding Papua New Guinea have up to twice as many marine species as the waters of the Red Sea and up to five times as many as the Caribbean.

Divers in our oceans enjoy a huge diversity of dive sites, including barrier reefs, coral walls (drop off), and coral gardens, patch reefs, fringing reefs, sea grass beds, coral atolls, and wreck dive sites. The wreck diving sites of Papua New Guinea provide a collection of ships, aircraft and submarine wrecks from World War 2.

The average water temperature varies from 25 degrees Celsius along the edge of the Coral Sea to 29 degrees Celsius in the Bismarck Sea. One can dive in Papua New Guinea all year round, with the high season generally from May to November.

Dive Operators

Dive operators offer both land-based and live-aboard dive tours in Papua New Guinea. Land based tours normally consist of a day tour taking up to three dives, whilst live-aboard tours can take 7-10 days, with up to five dives a day. Most land-based operators offer resort-type dive courses and have fully equipped dive shops with diving and snorkelling equipment available for hire. For those bringing their own equipment, there are facilities available in the main cities to clean equipment.

The majority of dive operators operate on small to medium sized properties, with emphasis on personal attention in a relaxing environment. Dive sites in PNG are just a short distance from the resorts. The excellent quality of diving is synonymous with each operation, with the size of live-aboard dive boats falling between 45' and 120', with differing levels of amenities. Several operators now offer nitrox and rebreathers and most boats have facilities for camera equipment changing.

Papua New Guinea also has its own hyperbaric recompression chamber. Located at Port Moresby Medical Services, the DAN-sponsored facility is owned by the Hyperbaric Partners Limited and is supported by the PNG Divers Association through a small chamber levy.


While the reefs along the coast of Papua New Guinea teems with life, they are extremely fragile. In recognition of the importance of preserving the marine ecosystem, members of the Papua New Guinea Divers Association actively promote the use of moorings on regularly dived sites. The need to practice sensible diving and respect the underwater environment in Papua New Guinea is emphasized and in doing so, the message to all divers is very clear: please look but don't touch. Papua New Guinea was rated the TOP Dive Destination in the World in 2002 and received the Rodale's Scuba Diving Readers' Choice Award.

Trekking in Papua New Guinea

With over 5 million people living in Papua New Guinea and less than 50 thousand motor vehicles it is not hard to imagine that walking is the main mode of transportation. Consequently there are hundreds of tracks to be enjoyed by everyone from the casual adventurer to the most experienced trekker. Located in the centre of the Asia-Pacific region Papua New Guinea's location, isolation & dramatic landscape all lead to the perfect setting for trekking!

Papua New Guinea has long been a popular destination for trekking, mountain climbing and bushwalking, and is home to the world-famous Kokoda Track.

With largely unspoilt mountains, rivers and forest, as well as many significant war relic sites (as PNG was the focus of much attention in World War II), Papua New Guinea is an ideal place for both the fit trekking enthusiast or the weekend bushwalker. With professional Papua New Guinea tour operators and overnight treks, through to scenic bush walks that take just a few hours, PNG has something for every level of fitness.

Being largely unserviced by the tourism industry, the trekking, bush walking and adventure market in Papua New Guinea has great potential. Most centres in PNG can produce treks and bushwalks of undeniable world-class quality and beauty.

The Highlands region is famous for its tall mountains, with scores of readily accessible peaks. Mt Wilhelm at 4509 metres, is the most popular target for Papua New Guinea mountain climbers with good road access to Kegsugl village from Kundiawa and National Park huts for climbers to stay in.

The Mt. Wilhelm region has recently been the focus of PNG Tourism Promotion Authority-sponsored guide training activities and is becoming increasingly popular with individual and guided trekkers visiting Papua New Guinea. Whilst being accessible, Mt Wilhelm is not easy and guides should always be taken to assist climbers.

From the central Highlands city of Mt. Hagen, the towering peaks of Mt. Giluwe and Mt. Ialibu (both volcanic plugs) are accessible for trekkers. Mt. Hagen, Mt Ongo, Mt Kubor and Mt Kine Kaino Ku are also all accessible tracks and both the Bismarck and Kubor Ranges offer great trekking.

Goroka is also a centre for several good climbs with Mt. Michael and Mt. Gahavisuka being accessible.

If you’re after a serious trekking experience, take the route from the highlands town of Kompiam in Enga province to the Yuat River in East Sepik province. From here canoes will take you to Angoram. This 15 day hard trek is only for the most experienced, fit trekkers and several Papua New Guinea tour companies are available to assist trekkers during their expedition.

Kokoda Track

Papua New Guinea is most famous for the legendary Kokoda Track. Known as one of the world’s most spectacular and challenging treks, the Kokoda Track traverses the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges in Papua New Guinea.

With its exceptional biodiversity and natural landscape, thousands of trekkers experience the physically challenging 96km walk every year making the iconic Kokoda Track PNG’s most visited land-based tourism attraction and an important source of national and local income.

Each year trekkers brave the mountainous terrain, meet with Koiari and Orokaiva people living a traditional lifestyle, explore the dense rainforests and follow the footsteps of Australian soldiers and the Papua New Guinean Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who guided them during WWII.

Trekking Experience

The Track can be walked from either direction from Kokoda to Owers’ Corner, between 5 - 9 days depending on fitness. In terms of PNG accommodation at the track, there are a number of basic guesthouses and well groomed campsites along the Track, and with some villages selling fruit and vegetables to passing trekkers.

Owers’ Corner is about an hour’s drive from Port Moresby and the road is accessible for all vehicle types. A day trip to Owers’ Corner with a short trek (40 minutes) to Goldie River is a great option for those visiting Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

Choosing the right group to travel with is an important decision, as they will guide you through the preparation, the experience and safety procedures. The Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) provides a full listing of licensed tour operators on their website.

The Kokoda Track Authority

The Kokoda Track and surrounding region is owned by the local landowners. Their interests are looked after by the Kokoda Track Authority, responsible for managing the Track and trekking industry.

The KTA administer Trek Permits that must be purchased by all trekkers visiting the Kokoda Track, whether you are undertaking an independent trek or a trek with an organised tour.

Cultural Events in Papua New Guinea

Thousands of years in the making, the culture of Papua New Guinea is unique and untouched. In the remote villages visitors will find tribes that passionately maintain traditions through art, initiations and Sing Sings.

A Sing Sing expressing customary dance, music and traditional costume provides the opportunity for visitors to witness tribal traditions in an explosion of color and sound. There are regular Sings Sings throughout the country.