A Special Economic Zone for Paga Hill Estate

Thursday 26th March, 2020

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Paga Hill Estate has officially been announced as the first Special Economic Zone in Port Moresby, shepherding in an exciting new era for the city and PNG.

Signalling the island nation is now open for business, the government’s recognition of Paga Hill’s unique potential and economic impact will help encourage greater tourism, increased employment opportunity, and showcase Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea to the world.

So, what exactly is a Special Economic Zone and what does it mean for Paga Hill Estate and PNG?

What is a special economic zone (SEZ)?

Used in countries all over the world to stimulate investment and drive innovative projects, a Special Economic Zone allows for a government to apply a unique set of conditions to a specific area.

In most cases these conditions include different business and trade laws, such as tax concessions, which are designed to foster investment, employment, and job creation.

Perhaps the most renowned example of how effective Special Economic Zones can be in stimulating economies is Shenzhen in China.

As one of China’s first four SEZ’s, Shenzhen quickly transformed from a small town in 1980 to become a leading global economic powerhouse that is now one of China’s main commercial hubs.

In 1992 alone Shenzhen attracted 14 per cent ($4.3 billion) of China’s total foreign investment. Its incredible success led China to establish further special economic zones elsewhere.

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Paga Hill Estate

Paga Hill Estate has become Port Moresby’s first recognised special economic zone, and its unwavering focus is tourism.

Effectively the granting of special conditions by the government is acknowledgement of the potential benefits that Paga Hill Estate offers PNG for increasing tourism, showcasing the nation to the world and stimulating the city’s economy.

With the recent government recognition of the project’s significance and impact, Paga Hill Estate stands to develop at a much faster rate, attracting international interest, generating job opportunities and realising the vision of a world-class tourism destination.

What does it mean for PNG?

Paga Hill Estate has a unique vision to offer a first-class tourism destination that showcases the vibrant culture, beauty, hospitality and opportunity of PNG to the world.

Cruise tourism

This vision includes tapping into the significant economic benefits of additional cruise tourism with a state-of-the- art cruise terminal on site.

As an example, Australian consultancy firm Dransfield Hotels & Resorts has conservatively forecasted an additional 60 vessels per annum to begin with, representing PGK275 million annual economic impact.

This impact includes direct, indirect and induced output, as well as money spent by disembarked passengers and this would only grow over time.

Cultural showcase

Amongst Paga Hill’s most exciting plans is the proposal to build a world-class Cultural Centre and War Museum on site.

Paga Hill Development Company forecasts these two venues alone would host over one million visits per annum, generating tourism and hospitality employment in the capital.


The special economic zone incentives lay the foundation for Paga Hill Estate to develop at a rapid pace, generating construction and other job opportunities, as well as on-job training and certification opportunities for trades and the like.

Further employment opportunities will also be generated through the hotels, restaurants, and cafes, and would be expanded even more by the potential addition of a casino.

Meanwhile, Paga Hill Estate envisages supporting this with a National Tourism & Hospitality Training Academy to foster employment and skills training.

Commercial and financial hub for the South Pacific

In addition to driving tourism, the special economic zone incentives provide economic conditions that seek to have multi-national companies relocate their regional headquarters to Paga Hill Estate. The short term tax and other concessions would make relocation attractive, creating a raft of employment and spinoff business opportunities in Port Moresby, over and above those in tourism & hospitality.

A bright future ahead

The Special Economic Zone declaration signifies an exciting turning point in the development of Paga Hill Estate.

It is government recognition of the project’s vision, together with the significant economic potential for PNG in terms of tourism, job and business opportunities, as well as providing the catalyst for a more diversified local economy.

Ultimately, it propels the project into a new era that is set to benefit nation’s capital and the greater economy of PNG by opening the country’s doors and showcasing PNG’s hospitality to the world.

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.