Visa ban eased to give tourists room to enter

PORT MORESBY, 17 OCTOBER 2018 (THE NATIONAL) – Tourists from certain countries will not be affected by the visa-on-arrival suspension from Oct 30 to Nov 30 planned by the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority.

The decision was reached at a meeting yesterday between the authority and the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority. The suspension announced on Monday was part of security measures taken during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week next month.

PNG grants visa on arrival with 71 nations including the United States, Canada, European Union and members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG).

Chief Migration Officer Solomon Kantha and TPA chief executive officer Jerry Agus agreedthat the suspension should not affect tourists from those nations.

Agus was concerned that the suspension would affect the flow of tourists from the EU and North America who usually visited PNG in November.

Kantha thanked Agus for his understanding of the decision taken “to ensure the highest level of security is provided to Apec leaders and delegates. The decision to suspend visa on arrival is only for four weeks,” Kantha said.

He said anyone else wanting to visit PNG would have to lodge their applications and obtain a visa at any PNG missions overseas.

“We will, however, prioritise those that have already pre-planned and arranged to travel to PNG so they can obtain a visa conveniently and timely at any of our foreign missions and travel to PNG,” Kantha said.

Agus said there was a temporary arrangement in place to facilitate travel for all genuine tourists.

“Therefore the disruption to tourism industry will be very minimal during this short suspension period.”