24 Sep 2013

Tonga Govt to spend thousands of dollars on tourism and manufacturing

3:28 pm on 24 September 2013

The Tongan government has allocated more than half a million US dollars to the development of small businesses in the tourism and manufacturing industries.

The Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour CEO, Tatafu Moeaki, says under the scheme, half will go to small enterprises developing new tourism products.

He says the other half will go towards making handicrafts and stimulating innovation in manufacturing.

He says small enterprises normally face high interest rates when taking loans from banks - but this scheme will mean small businesses could get up to 8,000 US dollars for free.

"Most of these small businesses have very limited access to finance, and in consequence their access to productive resources, capital, even market knowledge is also constrained. That limits their ability to participate effectively in business activities throughout the Kingdom."

Tatafu Moeaki says the scheme was set up long before New Zealand suspended its tourism aid to Tonga, but has come at a time where tourism operators need it the most.

He says applications for the grants are now open.