Author: Charlie

The Rise, Fall and Future of Kokoda Tourism: 1991-2023

This paper is based on my experiences leading 101 expeditions across the Kokoda Trail over a 32 year period between 1991-2023.

Prior to this there was no Kokoda tourism industry and subsistence villagers earned zero income.

During my time in PNG I spent 95 percent of my time on the Kokoda Trail working with our guides and carriers on the Trail and either living in their villagers or with them on the Sogeri plateau.

My purpose is to summarize the situation which led to the rise of Kokoda tourism under PNG management from 2004 – 2008; its demise under the management of Australian environment officials from 2009 – 2023; and its potential it as a world-class pilgrimage tourism destination.

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DFAT in Kokodaland

The Kokoda Track Authority International Tour Operators Forum conducted at a 5-Star hotel at Southbank in Brisbane on 22-23 November 2023 is a far cry from remote villagers eking out a subsistence lifestyle across the Kokoda Trail – about as far as one could possibly get!

The Minutes of the forum indicate the clique of government officials, consultants, and rent-seeking eco-tour operators operate in a parallel universe to the two key stakeholders in Kokoda tourism i.e., those who invest in the pilgrimage and generate the income for the industry and those who own the land sacred to our shared military history.

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Adventure Kokoda Charity

Charlie Lynn, who trekked Kokoda 101 times over a 32 year period, has come face-to-face with both emergency needs of villagers and their ongoing development needs.

During this period he established the Kokoda Track Foundation and Network Kokoda as philanthropic bodies to support their needs in education, health and agriculture.

In additions to this his company, Adventure Kokoda, has funded emergency evacuations and hospital treatment for village children in need of urgent care.

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