CHAPTER 38: Kokoda Trail Tourism – The Way Forward Score 0%

CHAPTER 38: Kokoda Trail Tourism – The Way Forward

Since the Australian Government assumed responsibility for the management of the Kokoda Trail under a Joint agreement with PNG in 2008 trekker numbers have fallen by 46 percent which has resulted in a cumulative loss of some $20 million in foregone wages, campsite fees and local purchases for villages communities.  And these are the people we have spent millions trying to help!

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The Kokoda Track Foundation: 2003-2006

In 1992 Prime Minister Paul Keating opened a $2 million Kokoda Memorial Hospital along with a Backpacker’s Hostel to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign.

It was also planned to open a new terminal at the Kokoda airfield but the locals burnt it down shortly before his visit. It turned out to be an omen of things to come with a well-intentioned aid policy inadvertently reinforcing a ‘cargo-cult’ mentality.

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Database Evaluation of the Kokoda Tourism Industry: 2003-2019

Official data, based on the number of Trek Permits issued by the Kokoda Track (Special Purpose) Authority (KTA), reveals that villagers across the Kokoda Trail have suffered a cumulative loss of K49.7 million in foregone income opportunities since the DFAT-Kokoda Initiative assumed responsibility for its management in 2009.   A Kokoda Livelihoods Study by Pacific Islands Projects revealed the DFAT-Kokoda Initiative allocates just 1% of their budget to ‘income generating projects’ for villagers across the Trail.

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