13 Aug 2009

PNG tourism body to counter Kokoda crash impact

3:44 pm on 13 August 2009

Papua New Guinea's Tourism Promotion Authority says it is preparing to combat any detrimental impact this week's fatal plane crash may have on tourism.

13 people, including nine Australians aiming to walk the Kokoda Track, died when the Airlines PNG flight crashed on Tuesday.

The Authority's chief executive, Peter Vincent says more than 5,000 Australians visit the track each year and he expects the accident will cause a slowdown in visitor numbers.

But he says they will allow the initial shock to subside, before trying to stimulate growth in Australia with a marketing campaign.

Peter Vincent says its important for local people that all agencies in Papua New Guinea look at how they can maintain the popularity of the track.

"People living along the track, this is their only means of survival, through tourism. We are very mindful that we do not allow it to go back to what it was in 2000, because the local people living along the track rely heavily on the dollars generated as a result of the increased numbers of tourists walking the track."

Peter Vincent says the Kokoda Track is the country's most popular tourist attraction.