21 Mar 2007

Tonga tourism expects boost with mission to Australia and US

7:12 pm on 21 March 2007

Tonga's Tourism Ministry says it's expecting a rise in the number of visitors as a result of major tourism initiatives this year.

The acting director of tourism, Sione Finau Moala-Mafi, says a ministry delegation will be visiting Australia and the United States over the next two weeks in a bid to restore the confidence of wholesalers in the hotel and travel industry following last year's riots.

He says capacity will be increased by about 300 rooms with new hotels opening and exisiting hotels expanding and upgrading their facilities this year.

Mr Moala-Mafi says the Fiji airline Air Pacific has added three direct flights from Suva to Tonga, and Tonga's domestic airline Air Peau Vava'u will resume operations shortly.

He says these initiatives will help Tonga.

"I think it'll be to the benefit of not only the tourism industry but also the travel industry and the people at large. Not only hosting but feeding a lot of people and that will go as far as agriculture and fishing, a lot of activities, cultural shows, cultural groups, and a lot of events. And that will be a great exposure for Tonga."

Sione Finau Moala-Mafi