09
Mar-2020

Travel that gives back in Papua New Guinea

Ever since their first tour in 2007, South Sea Horizons has been conducting low impact tours at a local level across Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

The Papua New Guinean owned and operated company continues to offer authentic Papua New Guinean experiences and insight into areas only the true locals know. They can do that because of the co-founder of SSH and founder of the Firedance Festival and Lark Force Wilderness Track, Alan Manning.

Hailing from a Baii Village in East New Britain and initiated within the Tolai men’s society, Alan has an unrivalled affinity and relationship with the cultures of the Papua New Guinea Highlands, Islands and famous Kokoda Track.

Alan was educated in Australia and played professional rugby for the NSW Waratahs affording him an excellent empathy and understanding of PNG/ Australian shared values. These strong ties to the indigenous community allied with understanding of both the Papua New Guinean and Australian cultures means guest travelling with SSH will be looked after by the best.

“Papua New Guinea is renowned for its diverse cultures and subcultures. Each one of these cultures comes with its very own cultural boundaries, intricacies and unique stories.”

Alan Manning

“This is what makes PNG so authentic and appealing to visit. It truly is one of the last cultural frontiers of the world. It is essential as a tourism guide and tour operator to respect these cultural environments as ultimately; we are responsible for your safety. Still, more importantly, we are responsible for the preservation of the tribes, clans and cultures we visit.”

Why practice responsible tourism?

South Sea Horizons place a strong emphasis on conducting low impact tours that are mindful of the environment they travel through. The main aim is to assist the local communities visited to develop tourism products of their own that are sustainable and easily managed by that community. This in turn builds on a commitment to provide jobs as an equal opportunity employer including management, guides, porters, historians and cooks.

The management team all the way down to the ground operations are local Papua New Guineans, proud to be a part of the company and showcase the country they love. Saii Faole, Brigade Hill Mission Tours and Kokoda Track Partner, has worked with South Sea Horizons since the very first tour in 2006.

Saii established this landowner company in 2008 in close association with local leaders from a cluster of villages along the Kokoda Track. An experienced campaigner along the track who has been trekking with clients for over 15 years, Saii’s vision was to ensure that benefits from his tourism venture went directly to his people along the track. As a local landowner from Menari village and the son of Faole Bokoi, the last Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel to pass away, this vision is core to Saii.

“I have been walking for the Kokoda for over 30 years now. I started as a young man. I have seen good operators, and I have seen some operators who still operate today, who only are interested in making money for themselves off the backs of our people,” Saii explained.

“Alan Manning and South Sea Horizons have designed a structure that empowers us. We the people own this operation, and when you walk the track, you will see all the projects this company has delivered from the revenue.”

Saii Faole

“We have built 6 classrooms, a school library, churches, paid for school teachers’ salaries, school fees for over 200 children and many other projects. These are all projects we can complete because of our operations. When you walk with us you are putting back directly back into the futures of our people,” Saii added.

Experiences that change lives

While travellers with SSH will experience anything from the Kokoda Track to unique Papua New Guinea Cultural Tours in Goroka and Rabaul, the life-changing moments are not only reserved for them.

SSH tours are also life-changing for those local people that come into contact with the visitors. With an aim of assisting local communities through developed tourism products that are sustainable and contribute back to the local community, SSH has managed to find that perfect balance between changing the lives of everyone involved.

The personal approach and authentic bonds formed by the guests, SSH team and locals they meet are what makes the journey that more special. It is not just a tour to take pictures and go home and tell your friends about. It is a journey that will leave ever lasting memories.

Make your next journey a responsible one

If you want to join South Sea Horizons and explore Papua New Guinea, you can jump on the Kokoda Expedition departing on 25 September 2020 to 5 October 2020. For a cost of $3350 per person/ twin share, the money is well spent as not only will you be embarking on life-changing experience, $500 per trek will be donated to School Fees in Efogi and Manari Primary School. The aim is to raise $10,000.

For more, visit www.southseahorizons.com/.

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