The new Minister for Tourism Arts and Culture Isi Hendry Leonard wants tourism made simple and people-oriented.
He stressed this during a hand-over-take-over ceremony in Port Moresby this week that every cultural festival must be made simple and taken back to the people to participate.
“I want us to make it simple and allow participation of the people,” he said.
Leonard is Member for Samarai Murua electorate in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea and he is a first-time Minister.
He became more impressed when he learned that the National Cultural Commission (NCC) had already developed the concept of bringing back culture to the people at community level. Both the new Minister and the executive director of NCC Steven Kilanda are confident they will work harmoniously in the coming months under the theme: “Connecting with Community”, which already is put into motion by NCC, which has already gone to the remotest of places like Nete Lyaim in the Porgera area of Enga Province, Yandara village in Bundi, Madang Province, Gimi village in the west Okapa area of Eastern Highlands Province and Bali Island in West New Britain.
Meanwhile, Minister Leonard thanked his outgoing colleague, Walter Schnaubelt, for the heads-up and vowed to “pursue and take on where you (Schnaubelt) left”.
Schnaubelt, who is now the Minister for Forest, had asked Leonard to continue with some of the projects he had embarked on during the three months he was in charge. He said a technical working committee he had established to provide advice on how to go forward must be maintained. He said he had ensured the three agencies under the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture worked together unlike in the past and asked Minister Leonard to ensure that continues under his watch.
Minister Schnaubelt also asked his colleague to support moves to review the Tourism Promotion Authority Act of 1993, and further ensure that a new Board for the Authority is appointed.
“Advertisements are already out so please see to it and decide on the appointment of a new board for TPA (Tourism Promotion Authority),” he said. He also asked if the major festivals in the country could be featured in a more coordinated manner to ensure tourists get the opportunity to spend more and enough time to see the festivals spread across the country, hence appreciate the true spirit of Papua New Guinean culture and hospitality.
The new Minister was also asked to ensure commitments made to the National Film Institute and the Raun Raun Theatre be honoured.
“I made a commitment to support each of the institutions with a vehicle each….please continue lending that support,” Minister Schnaubelt said.
Both the National Film Institute and the Raun Raun Theatre come under the National Cultural Commission.