Cultural tourism a major drawcard for PNG

Tuesday, 10th December 2019


Cultural tourism is emerging as one of Papua New Guinea’s key strengths as the nation looks to its history and traditions to showcase the region’s unique qualities.

Here’s an insight into just some of the exciting and enticing events that are luring tourists from around the globe.

PNG’s unique cultural tourism

Long shrouded in mystery and considered off the beaten track, PNG is just beginning to realise its potential as a cultural destination with a difference.

Home to a huge array of tribal traditions, a lengthy heritage and stunning landscape, the island nation offers an insight into a world which few western cultures can boast.

In fact, it is estimated that more than 7000 different cultural groups exist in Papua New Guinea, many have their own language and almost all feature unique traditions and heritage.

And now PNG is beginning to play to this strength, showcasing events, festivals and experiences that are seeing a spike in tourism.

The Cultural Commission

In 1994 PNG established the National Cultural Commission – an organisation aimed at preserving, promoting and safeguarding the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of PNG.

Comprising the Institute of PNG Studies, the National Film Institute, and the National Performing Arts Troupe, its goals include:

  1. Fostering respect and collaboration with all communities, organisations and stakeholders concerned with the preservation, protection and promotion of PNG cultural heritage
  2. Identifying and stimulating the growth and the market of creative industries, and
  3. Promoting nation building through cultural education

This year the commission welcomed a new head, with Steven Kilanda taking over the position of acting executive director.

Mr Kilanda notes Papua New Guinea is experiencing growth in the creative industry.

“This scenario impacts people’s tastes for fashion, art and life, and these must be encouraged by a favourable cultural policy framework to preserve, protect, develop and promote the traditional cultures of the indigenous people of Papua New Guinea,” he reflects.

A wealth of cultural events


The National Mask Festival & Warwagira, promotes the unique mask cultures of East New Britain Province. Image via Visit PNG.

In the interim, recent years have seen PNG unveil a range of cultural events in addition to long standing celebrations which are designed to showcase its heritage and tradition.

This sees a vibrant array of options for tourists looking to gain a greater insight into the country in 2020 and beyond.

Among the line-up of cultural events for the year is the:

  • National Mask Festival, East New Britain in July
  • The Mt Hagen Show, Mt Hagen in August
  • The Hiri Moale Festival, Port Moresby in September
  • The Goroka Show, Goroka in September
  • Morobe Show, Lae in October
  • Kenu & Kundu Festival, Alotau in November

And that’s just to name a few of the cultural events gracing PNG’s annual calendar, with new festivals and events now emerging, along with an increased focus on the nation’s creative industries and exports.

The result sees PNG evolving as a nation with vast allure as a tourism destination where travellers can indulge in a truly unique cultural experience at any time of year.

About Paga Hill Estate

Paga Hill Estate is a world-class, master-planned estate in the heart of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The waterfront site is the first comprehensively planned multi-use development in Papua New Guinea to be enjoyed by both residents and visitors alike.

The all-inclusive development will include vibrant public spaces and waterfront promenade, luxury hotels, residential apartments, restaurants, retail, commercial space, a Trade, Exhibition & Cultural Centre, restoration of WWII relics, marina precinct and a nearby international cruise liner terminal.