by Jimmy Im
Any history buff will most certainly know that Amelia Earhart has been making international headlines again — this time, with new clues to the disappearance of her plane. And any Amelia Earhart fan will remember the last leg of her flight leaving from Papua New Guinea.
This may be once in a blue moon that Papua New Guinea has garnered worldwide attention (in addition to the fact that James Cameron succeeded 2 weeks ago in undertaking the world’s deepest solo submarine dive in the Mariana Trench off New Britain Island of PNG). But it won’t be the last time you hear of Papua New Guinea and, soon enough, it will be making headlines of its own.
Papua New Guinea is the “land that time forgot” but travelers are starting to pay attention to this off-the-radar destination, thanks to the current trend of “ends of the Earth” journeys, where intrepid travelers are looking beyond “hot spots” to explore rarely visited destinations.
In fact, North America arrivals rose 25% in 2011 alone, mostly due to the country’s one-of-a-kind cultural events, villages with more than 700 indigenous tribes and 800 languages, expedition cruising and niche markets (from birding to sport fishing to surfing). Still, locals and visitors alike will argue it’s the romantic aspect that will always lure. It’s one of the last places on Earth that is discovered for its beauty rather than major travel trends and pampering luxury hotels (of which few exist).
Last year, National Geographic named Papua New Guinea one of the 20 Best Trips of 2011, and Popular Photography magazine recently named it one of the 25 Best Places to Photograph on the Planet. What accolades will it rack up this year?
Papua New Guinea plans on launching a new campaign in fall 2012 (“What Tribe Are You?”) so hopefully they’ll bring back the 2 actual tribesmen who marched through Times Square last fall.