Tag: Papua New Guinea

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 Score 0%

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 Score 0%

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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Adventure Kokoda Meals Score 0%

Adventure Kokoda Meals

The logistics involved in the purchase, storage, packing (by day and by meal lots), cooking, serving,and cleaning up are a major challenge as there are virtually no back-up facilities anywhere across the 138 km Kokoda Trail.

Our rationing system is therefore based on the purchase of all food from supermarkets in Port Moresby; the engagement of a specialist PNG catering crew; and a helicopter resupply half-way across the Trail.

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Adventure Kokoda Guides, Porters & Support Crews Score 0%

Adventure Kokoda Guides, Porters & Support Crews

‘I cannot say enough kind words about them. Throughout the entire trek I felt supported and knew that I could turn to them for help at any time. They were always in the right spot at the right time. They were so encouraging and only wanted to see me succeed. They have so much patience, I never felt rushed or scared because I knew they’d be there to help. They would encourage me to walk at my own pace and take as many breaks as I needed to succeed. Without them I would not have gotten as far as I did. I enjoyed listening to their stories about their families and knowledge of the trek and country.’

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Kokoda Testimonials: Veterans, Celebrities, Trekkers, Influencers Score 0%

Kokoda Testimonials: Veterans, Celebrities, Trekkers, Influencers

Kokoda is much more than a trek – it’s a pilgrimage to a special place for patriotic Australians from all walks of life in honour of our military heritage.

The apprehension of a visit to a ‘land of the unexpected’, a connection to just two of Papua New Guinea’s 800 cultures, and the challenge of a formidable, jungle-clad mountain environment to walk in the footsteps of the brave is a compelling drawcard.

The experience has left a lasting impression on those who have committed to it,

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CHAPTER 2: My Kokoda Journey

Over the past 32 years I have led 101 expeditions across the Kokoda Trail. During this time I have also travelled to Canberra to brief eight of the 11 Ministers for Veterans Affairs and three of the Ministers for International Aid and the Pacific, on the need to protect our shared military heritage across the Kokoda Trail. Unfortunately, there were no outcomes from these meetings.

I have also submitted numerous papers with suggestions for improving the management of Kokoda pilgrimage tourism. These were based on the collective experience of our trek leaders who have a combined total of 160 years professional military experience and who have led more than 600 expeditions across the Trail over the past 32 years. All have been ignored by DFAT environment officials in Canberra and Port Moresby.

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Time for PNG Women to take the lead on Kokoda Tourism

The recent humiliation of Kokoda tourism management in the PNG National Court has lifted the scab off a web off insidious political agendas, the use of aid-for-influence, nepotism, incompetence and corruption within the DFAT funded Kokoda Initiative network.

The common denominator in the web is . . . MEN!

The Kokoda Track Authority Board of Directors are all . . . MEN!

The Kokoda Initiative Committee appointed by the Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change are all . . . MEN!

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CHAPTER 1: Executive Summary

The rise in Kokoda tourism can be traced to former Prime Minister, Paul Keating spontaneously dropping to his knees and kissing the ground at Kokoda on the 50th anniversary of the campaign in 1992. He was the first Prime Minister to visit the place since the end of the war in 1945.

Keating’s gesture, and his epic speech, led to the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between PNG and Australia[1] regarding the significance of our shared wartime heritage.

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Adventure Kokoda License Restored by PNG National Court Score 0%

Adventure Kokoda License Restored by PNG National Court

Charlie Lynn has welcomed the PNG National Court order to restore Adventure Kokoda’s tour operator’s license.

In her judgement handed down on 14 December 2023, Justice Susan Purdon-Sully found that Minister Simon Kilepa’s decision to cancel our license was unlawful.

Her Honour also declared the Kokoda Initiative Committee (KIC) meeting convened on 21 April 2023 was not free from bias and conflicts of interest given the presence of the Strategic Management Advisor for the DFAT Kokoda Initiative and Secretary to the KIC, Mr. Mark Nizette MBE, and Oro Governor Gary Juffa MP.

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