INTERVIEWS

Pelican Air to promote Papua New Guinea in India


Papua New Guinea has not been on the bucket list for many Indians. However, Pelican Air, which has now been chosen to represent the country’s national air carrier, Air Niugini, is launching a slew of new initiatives to make the destination popular among the Indian globetrotters. Nishad Gadhavi, General Manager- Business Development, Pelican Air Private Limited, talks about the strategies for the Indian market.

Pelican Air Pvt Ltd was recently appointed as the India representation company for Air Niugini, the national airline of Papua New Guinea. Tell us about your 2019 plans for the Indian market.
Air Niugini is now a BSP member in India and agents can now view fares and issue tickets.  We have planned product presentations with top travel agents and a FAM trip in July this year. Our main focus would be to promote Air Niugini and Papua New Guinea as a destination from India. We have planned various activities to tap into MICE movements. We are also focusing on leisure and adventure travelers. We will interface with bloggers to promote the airline as well as the destination.

What can an Indian traveler expect in Papua New Guinea?
Indians are avid travelers and are always keen to visit new destinations. Papua New Guinea offers various water activities, adventure tours, cultural tours etc. Round the year, there are cultural events at various islands of Papua New Guinea and visitors can enjoy these festivals with the local community. Besides the scenic beauty and shopping, young travelers can enjoy water sports and trekking at the Kokoda trail, and the country’s many islands are a perfect getaway for honeymooners. In short, PapuaNew Guinea caters to every age group.

Considering Papua New Guinea is an unexplored destination for Indians, what activities have you lined up to promote the country?
With the help of the tourism board, we are planning to conduct roadshows in various cities, which would help us connect the DMCs with local tour operators in India. Apart from that, we are planning to promote Air Niugini and Papua New Guinea through various social media channels. During our product presentation on Air Niugini, our focus also will be to provide complete information on the destination to the agents, so that they are able to sell effectively.

Is Papua New Guinea ideal for group travelers?
Yes. Groups are one of our focus areas to Papua New Guinea, as there are a lot of cultural festivals. Papua New Guinea is an island destination and every island has something unique to offer.

What are the prime attractions and activities in Papua New Guinea?
There is more to explore in Papua New Guinea. Port Moresby, the capital, is a must-visit. The surrounding islands like Rabaul, Madang, Alotau, Kavieng, Wewak, Lorengau and Arawa and Buka are located within 1-hour flight distance from Port Moresby and have lots to offer. There are also museums, nature parks, adventure parks, the famed Bomana War Cemetery, kokoda track, and more. Visitors can also enjoy diving and shopping. The Papua New Guinea coffee is a must-buy.

How do you plan to incentivize Indian travel agents promoting the destination?
Travel agents would be paid commission based on the class of booking. Apart from that, we are going to provide special fares to selected agents who specialize in promoting packages and to agents who are keen on promoting Air Niugini and Papua New Guinea as a tourist destination. The incentives also depend on the volumes the agents would generate. We are open to negotiations with travel agents, and it all depends on their productivity.

Caroline Diana
Editor
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