PNG Hotel industry urged to be realistic in pricing

PORT MORESBY, 15 AUGUST 2018 (POST COURIER) – The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission has called on major high-end hoteliers in the capital of Port Moresby to be realistic in their room rates in light of what it said was ever increasing prices.

With the onset of major events like APEC, the consumer watchdog has received numerous complaints from visitors from abroad and within on the expensive rates in the capital major hotels that continue to border beyond realism.

“We have over the years noticed increases in the room rates in the hotel industry since the LNG project came onboard.

“We experienced a good number of hotels in Port Moresby increasing their rates over this period and this is concerning especially for our consumers who wish to travel into Papua New Guinea for business, tourism, and for any other purpose.

“We would like to ask the hotel industry to reconsider the room rates they are applying currently in PNG,” ICCC Commissioner Paulus Ain said.

He said while the LNG project resulted in the cost of hotel rooms to increase the opportunity with hotels expanding in Port Moresby, it was the commission’s view that supply is enough in market for consumers to at least see some reduction in the rates.

“This has not been happening and they seem to be increasing. With the recent experience with APEC coming onboard we are seeing a lot of room rates being increased and this is indeed a concern to us the ICCC as the consumer watchdog.

“It is a disincentive to potential investors tourists and anyone else who wish to visit this country given the current rate of affordability is restricting entry by people from abroad and the neighbouring countries.

“With the feedback that we are getting that the room rates are not affordable comparably to our neighbouring economies, some of our hotels similar to these hotels the room rates in our view are slightly unreasonable.”

He added that the increases observed by the authority were for the high end part of the industry in major hotels operating in the city.

Ain said that while ICCC does not regulate the hotel industry, it will continue to monitor the prices from a distance.

Asked how it could intervene if it considered the industry does not budge to its call, the commission stated it would be subject to a market inquiry which would take place only after various requirements were met before the industry could be regulated, which the commission stated would not be the case at present.

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