MADANG has begun preparations to receive a P&O cruise liner which is due to arrive on February 15, says long time resident and businessman Sir Peter Barter. Voluntarily the firm has begun, and using its own funds and resources, cutting grass and removing as many plastic bags from around the town and waterways. All these with the help of some youths and its worker’s children. Criticisms had been levelled at Sir Peter Barter last week by Madang Open MP and Petroleum Minister Nixon Duban that this end of business has and continues to be restricted to the business that he (Sir Peter) owns and operates-that being the Melanesian Tourist Services. Sir Peter had made known from the outset that MTS is the agent for P&O onshore excursions in Madang and through this, the business for a long time has been promoting the province and PNG as a tourist destination. However, Sir Peter said there have and will continue to be opportunities for individuals and other operators in the province to participate in the spin offs.
“We are considered one of the most efficient ship agents in PNG, not only for P&O but many other ship owners. Everyone one has a chance to participate in such visits, they register with MTS, we are required to inspect the safety and registration, qualifications of drivers and undertake blanket third party insurances to cover an event leading to injury or death. “All contracted vehicles receive full payment within 24 hours. It takes up to three months for us to be paid by the ship owner. Our profit is marginal and in some cases not at all.
“In addition, we encourage other local bus and boat operators to provide information sightseeing for passengers who do not contract the ship to provide. We provide space for vendors to sell their wares, arrange and pay for many cultural events to maximise the enjoyment of the visitors to Madang. “In addition, we hire scores of guides, ambassadors, all of whom are paid and provided lunch, and all villages are paid instantly for village visits,” Sir Peter said. Post Courier/ONE PNG