MINISTER for Tourism Arts and Culture Hon. Emil Tammur has welcomed the expansion of Papua New Guinea’s electronic visa (eVisa) system by the Immigration and Citizenship Authority to 20 other countries.
Minister Tammur said lack of access to PNG visa and more specifically the cumbersome visa application process in the past by foreign nationals, particularly tourists wanting to visit Papua New Guinea, has been one of the major impediments to the growth of the tourism sector in our country.
“The realisation that all APEC member economies including Russia can now submit visa applications online is a major relief and welcome news for our tourism industry members in PNG,” said Mr Tammur.
He said Russia for example was a major emerging dive market for PNG but access to visa has been a problem because visa applications including passports had to be mailed to the nearest PNG embassy in London which took weeks to approve and return, sometimes resulting in the personal travel documents including passports been lost.
“Now international visitors to PNG can remain in their homes and lodge visa applications online, assured that their important personal travel documents such as passports are safe,” he added.
Minister Tammur congratulated the Minister for Immigration and Border Security and the immigration and Citizenship Authority on the launch of the eVisa system.
He said tourism cuts across all sectors and in order for tourism to flourish in PNG, all relevant stakeholders and agencies including ICA needed to complement one and other in areas such as easy access to visa for international visitors.
Minister Tammur said his Ministry and particularly the Tourism Promotion Authority would be liaising and working closely with the ICA to ensure genuine bona fide tourists and business visitors access the online visa facilities to visit our beautiful country.
He challenged PNG tourism operators to also lift their game by providing genuine and professional services in line with the National Government’s desire to develop tourism in the country.