Boardroom briefing: the growth of ‘wellness tourism’, oil sector virus threat and plastic bag woes


Papua New Guinea tourism could benefit from new ‘wellness’ trend, OPEC worries over coronavirus effect and plastic bag woes. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Can ‘wellness’ tourism be a boost to PNG?

Spa hotels like Airways Hotel are well placed to attract ‘wellness tourists’. Credit: Airways Hotel

Papua New Guinea is well placed to take advantage of one of the biggest new areas of international tourism, the ‘wellness traveller’. Wellness travel is described as a holiday that will enhance someone’s personal wellbeing and tends to involve physical activity like trekking or surfing, and eating healthy things such as organic produce.

In a feature about how the trend is taking over travel, the BBC says the market has grown from US$563 billion to US$639 billion from 2015 to 2017, a rise of 6.5 per cent per year. It also predicts that by 2022, wellness tourists will account for 18 per cent of the entire international market with a value of US$919 billion.

Tourism operators that want a healthy return would do well to keep the wellness traveller in mind. From spa operators like Loloata Resort and Airways Hotel (Bliss the Spa) to those taking advantage of the natural wilderness and organic produce of PNG (like Rapopo Plantation Resort), this is a fast-growing sector. Your own business’s wellness may count on it.

Oil sector catches coronavirus worries

The oil industry is examining the impact of the coronavirus on its business. Credit: Manu5/Wikipedia

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) gathered on Tuesday to assess the global impact that coronavirus was having on oil prices, according to Bloomberg.

With oil prices dipping below US$50 a barrel, an urgent meeting of OPEC was called to assess the effect of the pandemic on the oil sector. So far this year, trade flows have been affected and China has seen a 20 per cent drop in oil demand.

‘The coronavirus is prompting growth downgrades around the world and oil demand is taking a big hit,’ said Howie Lee, an economist at Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp.

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A separate Straits Times report said that commodities markets would take a bigger hit from coronavirus than they did from Sars.

Bagging out the ban

Thai shoppers find creative ways to deal with the country’s plastic-bag ban. Credit: Twitter/@sihamese

You may have heard that the date for PNG’s plastic bag ban has been moved back to 16 March.

PNG won’t be the only place introducing a ban on plastic bags next month. New Yorkers will also be dealing with a ban and – surprise, surprise – there are complaints that the government there hasn’t done enough to explain and promote the ban.

Meanwhile, Thailand brought in a similar ban last month, creating a new challenge. Resourceful shoppers apparently stuffed their t-shirts, luggage, laundry hampers and even buckets with groceries after a ban on plastic bags in select retailers.

‘Creative shoppers brought in wheelbarrows, fishing nets, and even what looks like an impressive piece of pottery to haul their groceries home,’ reports The Verge.

A good thing that PNG already has the bilum.

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