Tourism and Festivals
Milne Bay Province has some of the best fishing, diving spots, and marine ecosystems in the world. Tourism service providers offer diving, snorkeling, swimming, soft adventure tours, and land-based tours (sightseeing, birdwatching, cultural attractions, WW2 tours, etc.) among others. The active tourism industry is run by established tourism businesses, tour operators, cultural groups, artisans (arts and crafts), and site/resource owners offering a range of natural and cultural products.
In 2017, a total of 28,139 overseas tourists visited Milne Bay Province (MBP), making it the most visited province in PNG that year outside of NCD. In 2018, there was a 26% increase in cruise tourists, boosting total visitor arrivals by 24% to a total of 34,961 overseas tourists, making MBP retain its record of the most visited province in PNG outside of NCD (94,412 arrivals). In 2018, MBP’s total of overseas visitors was 37% of the NCD total and 18% of the National total. The province received 61% of all cruise arrivals in PNG, comprising 96% of the 2018 overseas arrivals for the province (PNGTPA Arrivals Data).
Milne Bay Province is an ecotourism haven and contains some of the richest marine and terrestrial biodiversity in the world attracting scientists, conservationists, and tourists to explore its world-class habitats. The pristine islands attract international cruise ships and yachts, and contain almost half of PNG’s birdlife (6 endemic species) including the Goldie’s Bird of Paradise which is endemic to Fergusson and Normanby islands. There is coveted gamefish including Black Bass, Giant Trevally, and Marlin, impressive mountains including one of the highest and most steeply sided islands in the world (Goodenough Island) and numerous species of endemic flora and fauna. Milne Bay Province is reputed to be one of the friendliest and most peaceful destinations in PNG. The province is renowned for its rich missionary history, living cultures, and extensive WW2 history.
The Battle of Milne Bay, pivotal to the allies in WW2, has left an impressive collection of prominent onshore and offshore wrecks, relics, and wartime history. This significant battle led to the first decisive victory by the Allied Forces in WW2. There are three major Australian War Memorials around Alotau town.
Milne Bay was identified by The PNG Tourism Promotion Authority (PNGTPA) as one of the five regions in PNG (including New Ireland, East New Britain, Madang, and Eastern Highlands provinces) to pilot a new approach to the development of tourism via the creation of a five-year strategy. The strategy identified a range of investment opportunities in tourism infrastructure and service programs central to tourism development and expansion in the province. Milne Bay Province, together with East New Britain Province, was also selected for tourism hub development under the World Bank and PNGTPA.