We were delighted to meet up with Bob Bates, Managing Director of Trans Niugini Tours at the ITB Berlin in March
Bob is at the forefront of trying to attract more visitors to Papua New Guinea. As one of the leading inbound tour operators Trans Niugini Tours they offer a diverse range of vacations including wilderness lodges, scuba diving resorts, snorkelling holidays, ecotourism and bird watching trips.
Tourists go to Papua New Guinea for two reasons: the cultural experience and its nature. It has snow-capped mountains, steamy tropical jungles, and everything in between. The largest market for Trans Niugini Tours is the United States, which counts for 60 percent of visitors, with 30 percent coming from Europe, chiefly Italy and Germany. The small number of British tourists are generally those with a specialist interest such as bird watching.
The company works very much on an in-house basis, operating mainly in rural areas with its own buses, boats, and lodges. This enables it to offer a high standard and consistency of service.
The strategy is based partly on what tourists do in Africa, namely travel from lodge to lodge, staying in each for a day or two. The main attraction in Papua New Guinea is its culture. The company is always planning new adventure trips, such as a six-day walk recently pioneered from the Jimi Valley to the Chimbu Valley in the highlands – a trek never before done in living memory, most of which is 3,500 metres above sea level.
The Ambua Lodge in the Highlands is the ultimate wilderness accommodation. Situated at 7,000 feet above sea level in lush mountain rainforests overlooking the magnificent Tari Valley, it has been praised as a superb example of culturally sensitive and ecologically responsible tourism.
The Karawari Lodge is in the Sepik, the MV Sepik Spirit expedition boat, Malolo Plantation Lodge, and Bensbach Wildlife Lodge on the South coast near the Indonesian border. Rondon Ridge lies 7100 feet above sea level, on the outer fringes of the Kubor Range, The newest addition to our portfolio, boasting panoramic views of the Wahgi Valley below, Rondon Ridge is the pinnacle of luxury in a remote and rural setting. Then there is Lake Murray Lodge, nestling among trees on an island spit overlooking the beautiful Lake Murray. The lodge has found its’ home in this very remote area and on the largest lake in Papua New Guinea.
Our aims are to attract tourists to come and see the culture and nature, practice diving and go on some adventure trips. Papua New Guinea is a destination where mass tourism has no role to play. A land where the conservation of the Wetland, bird habitat, rainforest, rich fauna and flora and the traditional cultural lifestyles of the local people are always be paramount.”