A small island community in coastal Papua New Guinea was honoured at international Luxury Tourism’s night of nights in Morocco this week.
Boutique travel agency, Oceania Expeditions won the ‘Community Engagement’ Award for their ‘Kabakon Survivor’ experience at annual industry ‘un-conference’, Pure Life Experiences, in Marrakesh.
The award recognises OEX’s innovative partnership with local Karawara people in delivering a ‘survivor’ experience for travellers, in tropical PNG.
‘Kabakon Survivor’ is three days on an uninhabited island, with daily visits from the Karawara community to teach skills needed to survive. From spearfishing and foraging to weaving and networking, the experience is one of authenticity and sustainability, according to OEX co-owner, Ray Andrews.
“Kabakon Survivor forgoes the ideals of consumerism in western society and invites people into a different reality,” Mr Andrews said.
“It’s understanding how traditional cultures lead a day-to-day, sustainable lifestyle and we’re very proud of our partnership with the Karawara people and Kokopo Beach Bungalow Resort in connecting people to this awesome experience.”
Karawara community chairman, Corey Dotty Eron said the partnership offers cultural pride, income and pathways into the future.
“Kabakon is a paradise of its own, my aim is to try as much as possible to look after my good clients and treat them the best,” Eron said.
“Tourism is a new industry for us but we are committed to making it bigger and better with time. (It can) create job opportunities for our local people, assist our primary school, upgrade community-based aid posts and churches, empower our women and create many business spin offs.”
OEX co-owner Annalise Andrews was in Marrakesh to collect the award on September 12.
“We’re very proud of this partnership and look forward to inviting more travellers in.”
Oceania Expeditions crafts customised, guided experiences of Papua New Guinea. It is branching out into Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia from late 2017.
For more information, head to www.oceaniaexpeditions.com.au