Campsite and guesthouse owners in Kokoda Track region have turned the tourism freeze as a result of COVID-19 into an opportunity to complete
business management training to improve their financial literacy and accommodation operations.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make a major contribution to national output, but many face obstacles to sustainability with high levels of
attrition among small businesses.
The Start Your Business – Micro Enterprises training was recently held in Sogeri, Buna and Efogi for communities along the Kokoda Track in Central
and Northern Provinces.
More than 70 campsite and guesthouse owners attended the weeklong programs to learn business strategies for SMEs and enhance regional
The training was supported by the Papua New Guinea–Australia Partnership, through the Kokoda Initiative, and facilitated by master trainers from the Small to Medium Enterprises Corporation (SMEC) – a statutory organisation that develops and promotes SMEs to enable Papua New Guineans to be self-sufficient, thus improving their standard of living and contributing to the development of the country.
The training covered business and marketing plan development, income and expense management and customer relations.
SMEC master trainer Edward Kepa said supporting individual business owners contributes to broader societal outcomes.
“The training aims to promote small business and self-sufficiency,” he said.
“This will help improve standards of living and contribution to the development of the tourism industry and the country.”
The business management training followed the establishment of the Campsite and Guesthouse Owners Association in 2019, which aims to
increase and improve economic and tourism opportunities for track communities.
The Kokoda Initiative also assisted the registration of the association which comprises more than 100 campsite and guesthouse owners in Sogeri and Mt
Koiari of Central Province, and Kokoda and the northern beaches communities of Northern Province.
In Buna village in Ijivitari LLG, guesthouse owner Patricia Kaumiba said she found the training to be eye-opening and supported her to develop a
“I never used to keep proper records of my cash flows and profits,” she said.
“This is an important tool to help me know how far I’ve come, to plan for reinvesting in my business and to check if my business is doing well or not.”
The training is sanctioned by the International Labour Organisation and has been conducted in PNG since 2001 to enable participants to acquire
knowledge and skills in small business.
It is a key component of the Kokoda Initiative’s community driven development program which supports sustainable economic development
and improved livelihoods for communities in the Kokoda Track region.