A new training program is helping owners of Kokoda Track guesthouses and campsites improve their operations.
In April, more than 60 guest house owners along the Kokoda Trail attended small business training seminars in Manari, Efogi and Isurava to help them run their businesses more profitably.
The training was delivered by the Tourism Promotion Authority, the Kokoda Track Authority and an expert entrepreneur. The Kokoda Initiative supported the trainers with logistics and supplies.
Heather Vanua, a former business lecturer at Adventist University of the Pacific, gave presentations on product pricing, budgeting, record keeping, time management, and customer value addition.
Most of the participants had no previous business training and were active in group discussions and activities.
Like many small businesses in rural areas, cash management can be an issue for local Kokoda Track tourism operators.
Joe Matamata, owner of Vadulogo Guesthouse in the village of Manari, said he was excited and motivated by what he had learned.
“Before, I only used my money when hikers paid me. It’s a new experience for me, ”he said.
“I learned a lot of things that I didn’t know. Budgeting my money for short and long term plans was very interesting to me. I know that if I put into practice what I learned from this training, I will improve my campsite and be successful in the future.
Ms. Vanua encouraged participants to use the natural resources around them to venture into areas of activity.
“I want them to diversify and do more; to use the resources around them and to make other products, not just to rely on guest houses, ”said Ms. Vanua.
The Kokoda Initiative is a partnership between the governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia to support trail dwellers, improve trail safety, and preserve the region’s natural and cultural heritage.