I would also like to extend a warm welcome to the overseas media and the airlines representatives as well as our overseas reps, VFR agents and members of the tourist associations from overseas and in Tonga.
Eva Mai is about doing business in both overseas market and in Tonga. Without this exchange between the market and Tonga, our job in marketing Tonga would be very limited. This second Eva Mai happened during a very very tough time and I would like to thank the Minister of Tourism and the Chairman of the Eva Mai organizing committee for this leadership t continue our efforts to be competitive during these tough times.
May I also make this special mention as a good example of our close collaboration? I would like to thank Air New Zealand Holidays for helping our rugby world cup campaign by providing special packages and prizes to Tonga from New Zealand prior, during and after the RWC. This small step helps our confidence and we hope that other airlines and businesses will come up with new products and support.
Over the next few days you will encounter many tourism products, but our best products is our people, named rightly by Captain Cook the Friendly Islands is unique and remain special for the world to
experience. Whether you are here in Tongatapu, Vava'u, Ha'apai or ‘Eua, you will come face to face with a group of islands far more different from our neighbours. We are the last to be discovered and
experience in the Pacific.
I must thank the Tonga Tourist Association and all local operators for the perseverance and courage to make Eva Mai a beacon of hope for the Tourism community and the Economy as a whole.
I would also like to acknowledge the kind assistance by NZAID under the Tonga Tourism Support Project as well as the World Bank Budget Support Fund and the in-kind support by the private sector to make this event a reality. I am especially pleased to see the private sector and the government collaborating on this event. My Government will continue to support this excellent initiative in conjunction with the Private Sector both here and overseas.
Lastly, to our partners from overseas especially Air New Zealand, Pacific Blue and Air Pacific, I hope that your presence in Tonga will enrich your experience and also assist us to add and create new products in the market for Tonga. We need this now and I urge all local products to provide what is necessary to make this Eva Mai a memorable one.
I declare 'Eva Mai Tonga Tourism Experience 2011 open.
Malo and 'ofa atu to everyone involved.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, 2011.