A local adventure and backpacker tourism operator launched a new accommodation and tour booking website, www.villagehuts.com on the 22nd March 2016, supported by Australia.

The new website is expected to boost tourist numbers to existing visitor destinations, open up new and unexplored tourist destinations and increase incomes for villages and communities located in tourist operator sites.

In launching the website, Australian High Commission Counsellor (Governance) Ms. Josie McAllister said the website would usher in new avenues for tourists to access the wonderful places and activities on offer in Papua New Guinea.

Village Huts works with accommodation and tour service providers within PNG offer a reliable and secure way of booking accommodation and tours in the country.  About ninety-five per cent (95%) of home-stays and guest houses do not have their own website and lack promotional tools to market their product.

Through the Market Development Facility, Australia is helping Village Huts to widen the network of huts, guest houses and activity-providers registered on the website.  It is also working to promote this network to a larger client base domestically and internationally.

Village Huts Director Ms. Pamela Christie said: “There is a growing number of accommodation and activity providers catering to adventure tourists, yet they lack proper exposure.  A platform like ours gives tourists access to the different service providers in the country.”

“Adventure tourists intending to visit PNG normally approach overseas tour operators to arrange travel packages.  These operators are limited in number and have limited visibility online, which restricts growth of tourism in the country,” she added.

Ms. McAllister said: “Australia is pleased to support this initiative which is giving accommodation and tour service providers in Papua New Guinea an online space which could significantly bolster tourism numbers.”

“Partnerships with innovative businesses like Village Huts, are essential to enable access to quality and authentic tourism experiences that will boost this emerging and important sector in the country,” he said.

The new website marks an important milestone in the partnership between Village Huts and the Australian Government through its flagship program for private sector development in the Indo Pacific region, the Market Development Facility (MDF).