30 Jun 2010

Tourism Tonga wants whole community to benefit from renovation of capital's wharf

10:40 am on 30 June 2010

Tourism Tonga says it is looking to ensure the whole community will benefit from the renovation of the capital's wharf for cruise ships.

Currently cruise ships coming in to Nuku'alofa share the same wharf as the cargo ships.

The 32 million US dollar project to reconstruct Vuna wharf will mean tourists will soon disembark from the cruise ship in the centre of town, and close to the royal palace.

Tourism Tonga's executive office, Steve Finau, says it's making sure not just the city will benefit.

"We want to really drive these cruises into the villages where we can do ceremonies or rituals like the kava ceremonies or performances where the community will get the dollar. And it's part of the natural habitat. We can't do the big resorts or golf courses like Fiji and Tahiti and the Cook Islands. Our brand is really the more natural, the real polynesia we call it, that's the thing we're pushing and it flows right into the community."

Tony Finau says he expects local businesses, like taxi and bus services, cafe's and restaurants to step up as a result of the reconstruction.

The Vuna wharf is to completed in 2011.