23 Jan 2007

Tonga's battered capital likely to be rebuilt to reach the tourist market

8:44 pm on 23 January 2007

There are plans for a radical modernization of the centre of the Tonga capital, Nuku'Alofa, when it is rebuilt following the destruction of last November riots.

Tonga's transport minister Paul Karalus says they want to rebuild the CBD in the most attractive way because the capital is the gateway to the country.

He says this will involve redoing infrastructure, including drainage, widening some streets, developing walkways and vehicle free areas.

And because of the costs involved the government hopes to attract different businesses.

"We would hope therefore that we could be providing for that upper level market in the sense of better shopping, better recreational areas in terms of cafes, restaurants, bars."

And the New Zealand business community is likely to be involved after the formation of a Tonga Taskforce by the New Zealand Pacific Business council..