14 Aug 2009

NZ advisor studies Niue tourism sector

2:22 pm on 14 August 2009

A New Zealand Government appointed tourism advisor, Trevor Hall, is on Niue this week investigating how to grow the island's visitor industry.

Niue's premier Toke Talagi has several time criticised NZAid for withholding $2million set aside for investment in tourism, but the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, says New Zealand will not release the money until Wellington is satisfied it'll be spent as intended.

The Niue government had wanted the money to be used to develop village-based accommodation, while others want to expand the only hotel, the Matavai Resort.

An opposition MP in Niue, Terry Coe, welcomes the independent assessment of the tourism potential.

Mr Coe says web-based marketing, the ability to service tourists, and air travel to the island all need to be looked at to attract more visitors.

"I think when people try to get to Niue they cannot get on the plane because the plane is full, but a lot of those people on the plane who are travelling are government employees. So I think that has really got to stop, especially during the main tourism period so that we actually get the plane full with bona fide tourists."

Mr Coe says the Chinese government is helping to upgrade the airport terminal which is a disgrace.

Mr Hall will report to the New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully before November.