Worldwide interest in Pacific Islands region growing


<p style="text-align: justify;">Successive Pacific Islands Forum summits have seen increasingly bigger delegations from countries far removed from the Pacific Islands region wanting to attend post forum dialogue meetings. Many have asked to be associated with the Forum in formal ways.<!--more--></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">At the recently concluded summit in Auckland, there were reports that India is interested in increased trade and economic ties with the region and is considering a trade post for the islands in New Delhi.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">But even after the forum, global interest in doing business in the region continues. This week, Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Grigol Vashadze came calling to the region and has expressed interest in setting up joint venture mining operations in Fiji. This comes closely on the heels of the world’s largest aluminium producer Rusal’s venture in Fiji.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The minister said Georgia was interested in setting up cooperation in education, economics, trade and cultural activities in Fiji and elsewhere in the region. Georgia has also been canvassing smaller island states like Tuvalu and Nauru and has dished out dollops of goodwill aid to both countries in recent months.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Fresh from his Pacific Islands visit (notably Kiribati), United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has stressed the need to support far flung, poorer nations like those in the Pacific Islands region with increased tourism. He was speaking on the occasion of World Tourism Day last week. Tourist traffic is apparently at an all-time high, despite the economic downturn and heightened security concerns. A whopping 940 million tourists crossed borders last year.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Also visiting the region this week is Prince Mired Bin Raad Al-Hussein of Jordan – but his mission is slightly different: he is canvassing Tonga’s support on the Anti-Personnel Mine Convention.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Image / Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS)</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;"></p>