THE Government of Papua New Guinea will crack down on rogue tour operators on the Kokoda Track who are not paying taxes or taking proper safety precautions.
PNG’s Investment Promotion Authority has developed a code of conduct for foreign operators and is talking with them about increasing oversight and a licensing system.
Under PNG law, companies operating for more than 31 days are required to register with the authority and pay taxes to the Government.
But the authority’s managing director, Ivan Pomelau, told the Herald that monitoring foreign companies to ensure they obtained proper work permits “is quite difficult to enforce given that PNG’s tourism industry is at its infant stage”.
He said “a lot of work needs to be done in terms of regulation and enforcement … [We have] been focusing our effort on marketing and promoting the destination rather than regulating the industry”.
The executive director of the Kokoda Track Authority, Rod Hillman, said his body was considering a licensing system to help improve safety procedures and standards on the track.
”We’ve gone from 100 people walking along the track a year to a situation where we’ve got around 5000 people walking the track a year. As an industry grows, you want to increase the standard and make the experience for the trekker more reliable and a safer experience. A way of doing that is coming in and start licensing operators.”
Mr Hillman said companies and trekking groups sign a code of conduct, but a licensing system would give authorities the teeth to enforce standards.
”The main problems we’ve had is with independents – people walking without a tour operator. That’s where I’ve had the most troublesome weekends, waiting beside the radio trying to get people out of the track to safety.”
IT WAS an opening day like only New York can deliver.Six former champions were in action – Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams and both defending champions, Serena Williams and Roger Federer. The sky was a brilliant blue; the air unseasonably cool and crisp for late August. A record opening-day crowd of 36,085 was on hand, as well as one of the sport’s beloved past champions, Andre Agassi, who was to be honoured for his charitable work off the court.And while no top seeds tumbled, the future of American tennis took a beating. Still, there was no shame in falling to the tournament’s presumptive favourites. Alexa Glatch, 19, and Devin Britton, 18, drew the blessing and curse of opening play on Arthur Ashe Stadium against the defending champions.Serena Williams breezed past Glatch, 6-4, 6-1, while Federer had only a minor hiccup against Britton – twice dropping serve to the youngest player to win the NCAA singles championship before advancing 6-1, 6-3, 7-5. ”Tricky match for me,” Federer said. ”Playing a guy who’s got absolutely nothing to lose.”Afterwards, Britton confessed to being scared by the stage and his opponent. And Federer, 10 years his senior and now the first tennis player to accrue $US50 million ($59.29m) in career prizemoney, understood how he must have felt, having faced his own idol, Pete Sampras, on Wimbledon’s lawns when he had more ambition than achievements, and Sampras’s power was diminishing.”All of a sudden, I was in front of Pete Sampras at Wimbledon, and I couldn’t believe it, you know,” Federer said. ”If you admire a player, it doesn’t matter if he has lost first round many times, or he’s won many times the last year or so. It’s what he’s achieved and what you think of that player.”Serena has taken a markedly different approach to the sport this past year, producing her best when a major title is at stake and delivering considerably less otherwise. Her record in the three grand slam events contested this year is 18-1; she is 20-9 in less significant tournaments.But she strode onto Ashe Stadium – her favorite venue, to play before her favorite crowd – and proceeded to play as if impatient to get to the title match. A three-time US Open champion, Serena would draw level with Billie Jean King on 12 major singles titles if she wins a fourth this year.”She can really step into a ball, that’s for sure,” said Glatch, who was thrown by the size of the venue. ”When she steps into it, she can probably hit bigger than any other girl on tour.”Venus Williams overcame a knee injury to beat 47th-ranked Vera Dushevina of Russia 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-3, while Clijsters received a warm welcome from the Flushing Meadows crowd as she marked her return with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over 79th-ranked Viktoriya Kutuzova of Ukraine.Taking to the court after 11pm, Roddick easily advanced with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory over 84th-ranked Bjorn Phau of Germany.”The later, the better,” Roddick said on court afterwards. ”These are the hardcore fans.” Washington Post and AP
LLEYTON HEWITT has one eye on Roger Federer and the other on long-time bitter rival Juan Ignacio Chela after cruising into the second round of the US Open.While fellow Australian Samantha Stosur struggled to see off the reportedly pregnant Ai Sugiyama in three sloppy sets and Jelena Dokic bombed out, Hewitt could scarcely have been more impressive in dispatching Brazilian Thiago Alves for the loss of just seven games.Playing like he had to catch an early show on Broadway, Hewitt motored through the opening two sets in less than an hour before closing out a 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 victory to preserve his proud record of never having lost a first-round match in 10 visits to Flushing Meadows. ”I felt pretty comfortable,” Hewitt said.No kidding. The 2001 champion may not be feeling so comfortable if he wins his next match on Thursday against Chela, who defeated Spaniard Oscar Hernandez 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, to book a Saturday night showdown with Federer, the top seed and five-time defending champion.”Obviously if I get to the third round, there’s always going to be a very good chance that he’s going to be there,” Hewitt said.”So for me, it’s about getting through these matches and hopefully having a crack at him.”So I’ve got to beat Chela in the next round. That’s my main focus and what I’m going to try to do. It’s going to be a tough match. He’s going to sit out there and grind for days and he’s going to stand a long way back and I’ve got to go out there and play my game and try and dictate, play on my terms. If I can do that and I can execute, then hopefully things will be all right.”Hewitt and Chela have staged some fierce battles, none more explosive than their third-round clash at the 2005 Australian Open, after which the Argentine was fined for spitting towards the Australian.Stosur’s labouring 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory over 34-year-old Sugiyama, who Australian coach and commentator Roger Rasheed on Tuesday claimed was pregnant, was a timely wake-up call for the world No.15.Stosur, who will play American Vania King in the next round, admitted to feeling the heat as a top-16 seed for the first time at a grand slam and said the close shave was another reminder that her French Open semi-final appearance is but a distant memory.”I can always look back to and remember that I did get that far at a slam, but this is another new tournament now and that was a a few months ago,” she said.”So I can’t think I’m going to win matches just because I made the semis of the French. You’ve got to go out there and play every match and expect a lot from your opponent and respect their game.”Making her return after being bed-ridden for two months with mononucleosis, a blood infection that causes fever, fatigue and symptoms similar to the flu only much stronger, Dokic wilted to surrender the last four games in a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Belgian Kirsten Flipkens. AAP
JELENA DOKIC is in a desperate fight to save her tumultuous tennis career after suffering yet another body blow at the US Open.In her first match since Wimbledon, an underdone Dokic faded to a 6-3, 6-4 first-round loss to Belgian Kirsten Flipkins before revealing her concerns about possibly suffering from side effects after being bed-ridden for two months with mononucleosis.”I didn’t feel great, physically, on court and my power and my endurance and my movement [are] not even close to where I want it to be,” Dokic said.”I rely on that; I hit a lot of winners in my matches and I play pretty physical … hopefully that will get better.”It was not easy at all and I have a long way to go, but I have to just try not to be too disappointed,” she said.Dokic had hoped her captivating wildcard run to the Australian Open quarter-finals in January would prove a ”life-changing” experience and spark a return to the world’s top 10.Instead, this year has turned into another nightmare season for the luckless 26-year-old.First she was forced to retire in tears from the French Open when crippled mid-match with a back injury while poised for a second-round victory over world No.4 Elena Dementieva.Then her controversial father Damir landed in jail and was subsequently sentenced to 15 months in a Belgrade prison for possessing illegal weapons and threatening Australia’s ambassador to Serbia.Damir had been outraged over a magazine report that suggested he physically abused his now-estranged daughter during her junior days.Dokic was then diagnosed with the debilitating mononucleosis virus after capitulating to a first-round defeat at Wimbledon.”It’s tough because I think I could have had a much better year,” Dokic said. ”I was still playing well around Miami time and at the French Open as well, but then after that things went downhill. It’s so unlucky. Some people just have it that way and get injured all the time. Some people get sick.”I think it counts how many times you get up. Not how many times you fall down.”So hopefully I can try to do it one more time and hopefully I won’t have to do it again.”Now ranked 83rd in the world, Dokic plans to contest a stack of low-level claycourt events in Europe to hopefully regain a fitness base, restore her confidence and avert sliding out of the top 100.”I just need to do a lot of work,” she said. ” … Hopefully I’ll be healthy the whole of next year.”The toughest thing is staying positive mentally.” AAP
MELBOURNE Storm clashes against New Zealand Warriors have inevitably been a battle between the forwards, but Storm assistant coach Michael Maguire yesterday said the star-studded back line would play a big part in the team’s quest to secure a home game in the first week of the finals.The Storm yesterday named the same back line for its clash against the Warriors that did the job against the Sydney Roosters, with Dane Nielsen keeping his place on the left wing ahead of Joseph Tomane who has held the spot for most of the season. While in the forwards, back-rower Hep Cahill comes on to the interchange for injured prop Scott Anderson.Maguire said the backs were ready to repeat their performance at the Storm’s last-ever game at Olympic Park, which was played in conditions that could mirror those in Auckland on Saturday night.”I think the backs definitely did a good job on the weekend in the conditions … they got in and did their part for the team and ran strongly out of dummy half and took the tough runs when required and nothing changes this week, particularly over there with possibly conditions being very similar,” Maguire said.He said the team, which must beat the Warriors to hold on to fourth spot, was ready to click into gear after a season where team cohesion had been affected by injuries to key players and representative commitments.”You’d like to think they’d take a fair bit out of that game on the weekend … I don’t know if you need a game like that to get your confidence back all the time, but it certainly helps.”He said Nielsen had closed the gap on Tomane, who is slightly quicker than Nielsen, and the 24-year-old had impressed in his performances during the past three games, two of which he had filled in for superstar Greg Inglis, who was serving a club-imposed suspension.It had been expected that Nielsen would be dropped for last Saturday’s game against the Roosters after Inglis’ ban was withdrawn, but he remained in the team with Tomane cut to rest injuries.”JT (Tomane) has had a few niggles over the last couple of weeks and that was a bit of a reason why he sat on the sideline, but Dane’s been playing some very good football,” Maguire said. ”He’s pushing his cause very well, so after training (today) the coaches will decide which way we want to go. It’s a little bit on how JT’s body is holding up as well … so it’s down to how they’re performing at training.”Meanwhile, the Storm is hopeful that injured prop Scott Anderson could be able to return from a hamstring injury within two weeks.”He’s got a hamstring tear very much like the one Sika Manu got in the last round of last season and Sika came back and played again 10 days after that, so we’re quite hopeful about it,” Storm physiotherapist Mary Toomey said.”He’s improved quite a bit so he’s looking pretty reasonable at the moment.”The Warriors suffered a double injury blow in what will be Stacey Jones’ farewell, with Manu Vatuvei (knee) and Jerome Ropati (shoulder) both ruled out. They will be replaced by Aidan Kirk and Patrick Ah Van.