New Zealand pledges help to develop Niue as "boutique" resort

13:52, July 18, 2011      

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New Zealand is to invest 15 million NZ dollars (12.65 million U.S. dollars) in helping to develop the Pacific island of Niue into a "boutique tourism destination," New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced Monday.

McCully, who returned from a Pacific tour of Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Niue on Saturday, said New Zealand was committed to working closely with government, private sector and community partners in Niue to help realize the island's tourism potential.

"Niue's relative isolation and population size are challenges for economic development, but the country's natural beauty and unique environment provide significant tourism opportunities," McCully said.

"With attractions like whale watching, diving, caving and hiking, Niue's tourism market differs from other Pacific destinations and offers a special experience for adventure seeking travellers," he said.

New Zealand would contribute expertise and infrastructure to support growth in tourism, which would show real value and potential for the local community both in terms of employment and associated commercial opportunities, he said.

"New Zealand will invest 15 million NZ dollars over three years for a tourism development strategy designed to equip Niue with the essential infrastructure and management systems needed to cement the island as a boutique tourism destination," McCully said.

"Our support for tourism in Niue has already contributed to a new visitor's centre and the redevelopment of the Matavai Resort ( Niue's biggest hotel), assistance for private sector tourism operators, and support for reliable international air services," said McCully.

"The benefits of developing increased promotion of Niue as a tourist destination are already evident, with increasing demands for flights and occupancy at the Matavai Resort at almost full capacity over the high season this year," he said.

The island of Niue has a population of around 1,500 and fewer than 90 hotel rooms. Tourists can fly there from New Zealand and the New Zealand dollar is the island's currency.

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