Tourism takes a tumble: report finds 90 per cent of 2020 bookings wiped out in Papua New Guinea


A report by the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA) has found an industry in crisis, with mass cancellations, lay-offs and huge losses in revenue. But the cold statistics may help government formulate an assistance package.

Diving in PNG

Taking a dive: Papua New Guinea’s tourism sector is in serious trouble due to the pandemic lockdown.

The thousands of grounded planes parked across the world are one of the strongest signs that tourism is one of the most heavily-impacted industries in the current pandemic. Now, a report from the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority has sought to make clear just how much the local industry is hurting.

The figures are sobering, with a headline statistic of 90.7 per cent of all 2020 bookings cancelled, affecting 100 per cent of operators. The overall sector is looking at a K65.9 million loss and it has seen 1209 employees laid off since COVID-19 first touched down in PNG.

Commenting on the survey, Minister for Tourism Emil Tammur said it was hoped the survey information could help the government understand the impact of COVID- 19 on the industry, and how best the government could target any assistance from the K5.6 billion Stimulus Package to help businesses recover.

Lost jobs

The report includes hotels, tour operators, tourism associations and commercial airlines. Across the board they are showing interruptions to trading, and in the cases of some hotels closures, plus a worrying lack of bookings beyond the 2020 year.

One of the biggest concerns is the impact on local employment with over a thousand jobs lost.

‘With over 1,200 tourism workers displaced with little to no income support, there needs to be a workable solution to ensure displaced workers have access to basic necessities to ensure they and their families survive the crisis,’ the report says.

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The PNGTPA has a plan to assist affected tourism businesses with a public/private partnership with the accommodation sector.

The plan would see accommodation providers such as hotels, lodges and guesthouses assisting in the COVID-19 quarantine program – with the expenses to be subsidised by the PNG Government.

This is not the last we will be hearing on the tourism crisis either. The PNGTPA will be conducting a second in-depth socio-economic study into the COVID-19 impact on tourism businesses after the State of Emergency ends, hopefully at the start of June. Requests for proposals have been sent out to professional agencies in Papua New Guinea to conduct the research.



  1. Trout farm and bettys lodge says

    Bettys lodge is double hit hard.all my international bookings all got cancelled because of the pandemic and can not even sell fish or even get local tourist because of a big landslide which took our road lock down for me indefinate. Until such time road gets cleaned up and i could move again. And at least survive on fish the mean time fish too are dying cause I cannot get feed to bad.

  2. Peter Barter says

    Excluding Tour/Travel/Accom in POM and possible Lae, the real loss is well over 90%.

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