Prime Minister Peter O’Neill confirmed the trip through the PNG High Commission in Canberra.
He is expected to arrive on March 31 on the inaugural Air Niugini flight direct from Port Moresby.
Mayor Jenny Hill said she was excited for the visit, which represented a strong and improving relationship between Townsville and Port Moresby.
“I think it’s important that we establish links with, not just the Port Moresby NCDC (National Capital District Commission), but with the Papua New Guinean Prime Minister,” she said.
“We have a long relationship with Port Moresby and in the past quite a healthy relationship in terms of local business.”
Mr O’Neill’s itinerary is yet to be confirmed but it’s believed he will accompany Cr Hill to the Cowboys vs. Rabbitoh’s match at the 1300 SMILES Stadium on March 31.
“Cowboys are the number one Queensland team in Papua New Guinea,” Cr Hill said.
“We’re working with what you can call Cowboys diplomacy.”
Mr O’Neill has attended a number of Cowboys games in the past.
Townsville Enterprise chief executive officer Patricia O’Callaghan said she hoped the visit would pave the way for future business opportunities between the two countries.
“It’s positive that the launch of the direct flights will be supported at the highest level politically,” she said.
“I think it’s an indication of the political will that is there to ensure that these routes are not just about a new airline, it’s about an economic development partnership between two countries that have a lot to offer each other.”
Ms O’Callaghan said Townsville Enterprise was working with council to ensure Mr O’Neill’s visit would showcase the city.
“We want to ensure that political and business leaders will have the opportunity to engage with the Prime Minister ... to further the relationship with him and his office,” she said.
“There are a number of key leaders that we would like him to meet.”
Mr O’Neill last visited Townsville in 2013.
Air Niugini will launch biweekly direct flights between Port Moresby and Townsville at the end of the month.
Last week The Bulletin reported the company had increased the size of its aircraft for the first two flights to accommodate strong demand. Townsville Bulletin/PNGfacts