Share this page

Attracting Tourists to Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, September 21, 2018 — New research shows visitors from North America and Europe are the biggest holiday spenders in Papua New Guinea, with Europeans spending USD$3600 and North Americans spending USD$4000 per trip on average.
The figures were released by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with the Papua New Guinea Tourism Association at the 2018 Lukim PNG Nau, this year’s tourism expo showcasing the country.
The research, compiled from the International Visitor Survey, shows travel agents play a key role in North Americans deciding to travel to Papua New Guinea, while Europeans tend to use travel guides and the internet to plan and book their trips independently online.
“The findings indicate that a strong internet presence is vital for Papua New Guinea to grow the tourist market from coming from Europe,” said IFC’s Resident Representative for Papua New Guinea, John Vivian. “The research highlights the potential for attracting more adventure travelers from Europe, as it shows that visitors from Europe tend to be younger males and generally stay longer in the country than other visitors.”
Drawing on data from six months, the research reveals North Americans are primarily interested in cultural activities and tours, while the market is also an important one for bird watchers. For the North American market, Papua New Guinea is likely viewed as a holiday destination for a “once in a lifetime trip” with the majority of travelers over 60 years of age.
“With North American tourists primarily interested in cultural activities and tours, it highlights the need for the local tourism industry to look across the broad spectrum of services to ensure visitors in the older age brackets can access and enjoy all the experiences Papua New Guinea has to offer,” said Jessie McComb, IFC’s tourism “Otherwise the country risks losing this high yielding market.”
Previous studies have highlighted the importance of Papua New Guinea growing its tourism by developing niche markets such as cultural, adventure and historical tourism.
Overall Papua New Guinea is heavily reliant on the Australian market for tourists, with Australia making up 48 percent of total visitors in the first six months of this year. The Australian holiday market is predominately a mature male market with most visitors between 40 and 70 years of age, and highly interested in active and adventure holidays.  
The findings highlight that diving is an important activity for Asian travelers to Papua New Guinea, with potential to increase arrivals to the country from tourists interested in dive and World War Two experiences
Overall, the first six months of this year saw more than 34,600 visitors to Papua New Guinea, contributing some PGK $260 million (USD$78 million) to the country’s economy. That number is set to be overtaken in the second half of the year with Papua New Guinea hosting APEC – the Asia Pacific Economic Forum.
IFC’s tourism work in Papua New Guinea is focused on supporting the development of tourism business, improving tourism-related conditions, and helping attract investment in the tourism sector. IFC is also working with the World Bank to improve tourism services in the targeted destinations of East New Britain and Milne Bay.
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
Papua New Guinea Partnership
IFC’s work in Papua New Guinea is guided by the Papua New Guinea Partnership. Australia, New Zealand and IFC are working together through the Partnership to stimulate private sector investment and reduce poverty in the Pacific.
Stay Connected