In 2013, the Government of Papua New Guinea identified East New Britain as the country's tourism centre. Tourism operators in the provincial capital welcomed the government's plan, but warned that poor infrastructure and the country's bad image overseas could prevent it from reaping the benefits of 'huge' tourism potential. Landowners in the Tentative World Heritage area of the Nakanai Mountains are keen to tap into the perceived potential of tourism development and are creatively monetising their rugged environment in the hope of attracting tourists for adventure tourism. The development of adventure tourism initiatives tap into notions of wild and rugged landscapes, combined with Western fantasies involving travel to dangerous places (mountains, jungles, caves, cascading rivers). We argue that, unless local communities are able to effectively exercise power and control over tourism ventures, the desire to proclaim ecotourism as the ideal alternative form of development risks subsuming local communities and their livelihoods into a future defined primarily by outsiders.