31 May 2010

Hopes tourism can become focus for Niue

7:11 am on 31 May 2010

With plans for a boosted tourism industry in Niue there are hopes public servants can be encouraged to move into that sector and ease pressure on government finances.

The Niue public service is by far the biggest employer on the island but funding from New Zealand aims to grow tourism and other industries, such as fishing.

International hotel groups are being encouraged to investigate managing the island's Matavai Resort, the capacity of which is set to double, while the airport is to be upgraded to allow more tourist flights.

New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, who, with Niue's Premier, Toke Talagi, is driving the development, says finding enough labour will require a relaxation of immigration laws as well as attracting Niueans out of the public service.

"It means be able to tackle that bold transition between a workforce that is almost solely public sector focussed at the moment to one that is able to graduate towards participation in the growing private sector. Easy to say, quite challenging to do, but that is something that the Premier and his colleagues have signalled they are keen to do."