1 Feb 2011

Tonga tourism official says New Zealand aid will be of great benefit

11:31 am on 1 February 2011

The 'Eua Tourism Association in Tonga says several projects, such as improving access to key tourism sites, are now possible with funding from New Zealand.

New Zealand has committed 3-point-8 million US dollars to support the development of tourism in Tonga over the next three years.

It includes a Tourism Growth Fund specifically earmarked for local and provincial tourism associations which submit proposals.

'Eua is considered to have great potential for eco tourism, and some of the funds could be used to improve tracks through the forests.

The secretary for the 'Eua Tourism Association, Sam Veleika, says they'd also like more training and education on island, better signage, updated maps, and for urgent repair work to be carried out.

"There's some talking about an awareness programme for the island. But for the last five years there are some sites that were damaged by the local people, and that's one of the main concerns for the island and I think the money, the grant from the NZAID, would be useful on that side, on that part, especially for the local community here on 'Eua."