Govt wants tourism to bring in US$90m a year, but tourism bosses say much to improve

Govt wants tourism to bring in US$90m a year, but tourism bosses say much to improve

Tanoa International Hotel. Photo/Facebook

Tonga’s Ministry of Tourism says it wants to make the tourism industry generate $US90 million each year.

The government’s Tourism Roadmap 2014 set a goal of US$45 million a year by 2020, equivalent to 30 percent of GDP.

The Ministry says that figure has already been met, so it has ramped up the financial goal.

But while the Tongan Tourism authority’s website proclaims that there is “so much to see and do” in the kingdom, not everybody is so confident of the future of the industry in the Friendly Islands.

Speaking at a major tourism conference in  Nuku’alofa recently,  CEO of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation, Christopher Cocker, told Radio Tonga News recently that tourists did not spend very much money in Tonga.

Cocker said Tonga was “blessed,” but that the industry had stalled.

“In terms of Tonga’s tourism arrival we’ve been quite stagnant from 1995,” he said.

“We’ve got an archipelago with different islands which can become a selling unique point for Tonga.

“Our greatest weakness is that we need to get our backyard right, particularly more collaboration between the industries itself.

“The average spending of tourists is quite low compared to the duration of stay.

“The reason is because there is not much to do here.”

And despite the industry’s financial achievements, Tongan Tourism CEO Fekita ‘Utoikamanu also described the industry as stagnant and told Radio New Zealand much could still be improved.

Despite the opening of a major new hotel next week, occupancy was below 50 percent and there have been concerns about the availability of quality accommodation.

‘Utoikamanu  said authorities were looking at strengthening niche markets rather than mass tourism.

Whale watching was an important niche market for Tonga.

“Then we are also looking at in the area of meetings and conferences,” ‘Utoikamanu said.

“We are also looking at destination weddings and some other water sports activities, including diving.”

However, he said the tourism authorities were not considering casinos or gaming.

“The government has made a firm decision about gaming resorts, so unless they change their policy on it but right now we are not focussing on it,” he said.

The  main points

  • Tonga’s Ministry of Tourism says it wants to make the tourism industry generate $US90 million each year.
  • But while the Tongan Tourism authority’s website proclaims that there is “so much to see and do” in the kingdom, not everybody is so confident of the future of the industry in the Friendly Islands.
  • Speaking at a major tourism conference in Nuku’alofa recently,  CEO of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation, Christopher Cocker, told Radio Tonga News recently that tourists did not spend very much money in Tonga.
  • Tongan Tourism CEO Fekita ‘Utoikamanu also described the industry as stagnant and told Radio New Zealand much could still be improved.

For more information

Tonga tourism sector given ambitious targets

Tonga’s tourism sector raises goals

Tourism Industries to address weaknesses for a better change

Tonga Tourism authority

 

Comments / Tālanga

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment Login