Boardroom briefing: glamour back to travel, the trouble with MBAs, Port Moresby Nature Park


An Australia CEO wants to ‘bring some of the glamour back to travel’, hiring MBA graduates may not be the best move for every company, and why one of Papua New Guinea’s best tourist attractions closed indefinitely. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

This airport wants luxury back

Sydney Airport is located eight kilometres south of the city centre. Credit: Sydney Airport/Facebook

Australia is not renowned for its airports. High prices, messy connections between terminals, and limited retail options are some of the complaints often heard.

In the case of the latter, things are improving – at Sydney Airport’s International Terminal, at least. CEO Geoff Culbert recently told the Australian Financial Review’s ‘Life and Leisure’ lift-out that he wants to ‘bring some of the glamour back to travel’.

Some readers may recall that Culbert visited PNG five years ago in his former role, as CEO of GE Australia and NZ.

Ongoing redevelopment includes luxury boutiques, new upmarket dining options and more lounges.

On the lounge front, the pay-per-entry House Lounge opened last year (we can testify that it is excellent, though rather a long way from the gate used by Air Niugini), while the popular American Express Lounge has just relocated to a much bigger space. Executive Traveller reports that the area it has left vacant will be taken over by another pay-per-entry provider, Plaza Premium, a partner of the global Priority Pass lounge program.

Some other airports around the world might argue the glamour has never gone away, but any improvements in Sydney are certainly welcome.

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More graduates, more arrogance, more incompetence

MBAs are comparatively rare in PNG, but perhaps that is not such a bad thing. According to an article in Naked Capitalism, the increase in the number of MBA programs ‘has been to the great detriment of the US.’
MBAs initially sought jobs in Wall Street, consulting, and big business, the article says. ‘Over time, as more and more graduated, they increasingly colonised higher education, the health care industry, and not-for-profits. It isn’t merely that they have too little understanding of, or interest in, the business of the business. It’s that they also add a hugely costly administrative layer that focuses above all on increasing power and pay.
The article says the influence has been especially troubling in health care, where managers dominate. ‘Generic or managerialist managers by definition do not know much about health care, or about biomedical science, medicine, or public health. They are prototypical ill-informed leadership, and hence may blunder into actual incompetence. They are trained that they have a right to lead any sort of organisation, which breeds arrogance.’

Beloved nature park closes its doors – hopefully just for a while

Credit: POM Nature Park

The South Pacific Tourism Organisations’ Tourism Year, aimed at developing China as source of tourists, came to end recently, with CEO Chris Cocker expressing satisfaction at the results. With the World Bank predicting a three percent annual growth on average in Pacific region tourism, it’s a sector full of opportunity.

PNG is yet to achieve its share of the the Pacific’s US$3.8 billion (K12.9 billion) tourism market, which is why it’s troubling to hear that Port Moresby’s top tourism asset, Port Moresby Nature Park, has closed its doors until further notice.

The Park is one of PNG’s most visited tourist attractions – last year over 140,000 people visited – and the first in the country to receive a Hall of Fame award by TripAdvisor for five years of continuous Certificates of Excellence.

The announcement comes after seven years of successful private-public partnership, the obtainment of the International Wildlife Welfare-Accreditation from the Zoo and Aquarium Association of Australasia and over K7million spent on redevelopment.

PNG is also losing an important research facility dedicated to wildlife conservation. The Park has worked with many PhD students and conservation organisation to rescue and rehabilitate abandoned and/or injured wildlife, including pig-nosed turtles and birds of paradise.

The closure ‘is a result of a land acquisition matter before the courts between the Department of Lands, the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) and University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG),’ POM Nature Park said in an announcement.

Let’s hope wise heads prevail and the park reopens soon.

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