East New Britain Province: Papua New Guinea Business Guide


East New Britain covers the north-eastern portion of New Britain Island and the Duke of York Islands. The marine resources are diverse. The province’s only land border is with West New Britain Province to the west, and it also shares a maritime border with New Ireland Province to the east. Crime rates are low and the islands feature many natural beauties.

A lunar landscape surrounds Mount Tavurvur. Credit: Robert Upe

Economic overview

Tourism is likely to become an important growth sector, with the National Government announcing plans to make Kokopo the capital into a tourism hub, like Bali in Indonesia, or Nadi in Fiji. The Government is putting together a master plan to build the tourism sector around Kokopo, which will include rebuilding and extending the airport runway, creating a new terminal, building a four-lane road into Kokopo, and building power and road infrastructure within the Tokua area.

East New Britain has a cash economy and a subsistence farming sector. The main crops produced for export are cocoa and copra. The province also produces the galip nut, the industry for which is forecast to grow by five per cent a year between 2016 and 2020.

The fisheries industry is centred around the port of Rabaul, and there are plans for the establishment of a tuna longline fishing and processing facility in the province. There is considered to be potential for a reliable market for fresh chilled tuna and other fish species that are caught by local communities. The Bismarck Sea, which is to the west of New Britain, is one of the richest tuna and billfish fishing grounds in the Pacific.


The province is tropical and features evergreen rainforest, dense vegetation, mountain ranges, and volcanoes. East New Britain is a tourism hot spot, and is known for its active volcanoes, the Baining fire dancers, its war history, idyllic islands and the annual Mask Festival each July. In 1994, a volcanic eruption devastated Rabaul, burying it in volcanic ash. It has since been rebuilt but after the disaster the province’s capital was shifted to Kokopo, about 30 kilometres down the road.

Visitors can go to the hot springs at the foot of smoking Mount Tavurvur, or climb to the top. There are early morning boat trips to see hundreds of spinner dolphins. At the Kokopo War Museum there is the bunker of Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto and the Bita Paka war cemetery. 
There are day trips by boat to the Duke of York Islands.

Where to stay

East New Britain in brief

Province capital: Kokopo

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Population: 328,369

Area: 15,816 square kilometres

Distance from Port Moresby: 750 kilometres

Getting there: Air Niugini flies from Port Moresby to Rabaul regularly. The flight time is 1 hour 25 minutes.

Sectors: Tourism, cocoa, copra, galip nut, fisheries.

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