Tourism study reveals visitors to Papua New Guinea spent K260 million in first half of year


A tourism study by the International Finance Corporation has found that, for the first six months of the year, there were 34,600 visitors to Papua New Guinea. They spent a total of US$78 million (K260 million), an average of US$2262 (K7529) per trip.

Tourism percentages by region. Source: IFC

The IFC found that 54 per cent of visitors to Papua New Guinea in the first six months of 2018 arrived for business purposes.

Thirty per cent were tourists, and 16 per cent arrived to visit family and friends.

The top five industry sectors that benefit from tourism are: accommodation (US$31.2 million; K103 million), aviation (US$23.7 million; K79 million), food and beverage (US$8.3 million; K27 million), local transport (US$3.8 million; K12.7 million) and domestic travel (US$3.6 million; K12 million).

The study looked at tourism numbers between January and June of this year. It found that visitors spent on average K757 per day.

Almost two-thirds of visitors were male. Forty per cent had a household income under US$50,000, 34 per cent between US$50-100,000, and 26 per cent over US$100,000.

‘Culture and History’ was nominated as the top reason for holiday visitors to choose PNG. 

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‘The North America holiday market is the highest yielding and oldest market.’

The IFC believes the tourism market has potential to grow.

‘With the right investments in infrastructure, capacity building, product development and marketing and tackling regulatory issues, PNG could receive an extra US$117 million (K391 million) per year in niche market tourism revenues and position itself as a globally recognised tourism destination.’

Country of origin of tourists coming to PNG. Source: IFC


The report found that 53 per cent of the visitors were from the Australian market.

‘The Australian holiday market is predominantly a mature, male market with most visitors aged between 40 and 70.’

The New Zealand holiday tourism market is described as ‘split’.

‘There is a grouping of younger travellers and a grouping of older travellers.

‘There is potential for the young, adventurous New Zealand market to spur an increase in interest among younger travellers in other markets.’

The report identifies the North America holiday market as the ‘highest yielding and oldest market’ for Papua New Guinea.

‘Ensuring that information on Papua New Guinea is available online, in multiple languages is important.’

‘Given the demographics, high spend and low rates of interest in returning, Papua New Guinea is seen as a once-in-a-lifetime destination.

‘With the older demographic, accessibility is likely a concern for this market.

‘For North American visitors, cultural activities are important. Travel agents play an important role in marketing the destination and booking travel.’


Ages of tourists visiting PNG. Source: IFC

European holiday travellers prefer independent travel using travel books and the internet to find new destinations and book travel online.

‘Ensuring that information on Papua New Guinea is available online, in multiple languages is important.’

The high yielding European holiday market has the longest average length of stay in Papua New Guinea.

‘The lower age range and high percentage of male travellers indicates a trend toward adventure travel.’

Tourism from other Pacific Islands is described as ‘a young market’, reflecting the demographics of the region.

‘Overall, it’s a small part of the holiday market for Papua New Guinea, representing only 3 per cent of holiday visitors.’


  1. Bernard Lukara says

    Excellent report. Would be interesting to see the results for the next 6 months of this year, 2018.
    Now that we have these datasets, sub-national strategic planning and action is necessary. To help this process, will it be possible to dissect the data into province specific? What are the areas for potential further growth and the associated risks?

  2. Darius says

    Dear Editor

    Who did this study? Was this published and which Journal?

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