Pristine Niue woos quality Chinese tourists

Tiny South Pacific island nation Niue has turned on its charm in one of the world’s largest and fastest growing outbound tourism markets – China – with a promotional campaign. Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) China has been accompanying the Niue team at tourism events around China.

Felicity Bollen and Mona Mato (centre) with the Niue Tourism and PTI China teams at an event showcasing Niue in China.

China is a huge market. But Felicity Bollen, Chief Executive Officer of the Niue Tourism Office based in Alofi, whose team presented the country’s tourism promotion strategy to China’s tourism stakeholders recently, is mindful of keeping sustainability at the centre of the strategy – to preserve Niue’s pristine ecosystems.

The presentations detailed how Niue would progress its thinking going forward as it eyes China as an emerging market. It highlighted the importance that Niue places on a sustainably manageable tourism industry that is in harmony with its environment and culture and does not put unnecessary pressure on its current infrastructure.

Niue’s tourism promotion team recently attended tourism and travel shows in Shanghai and Macau, which has provided valuable insights into a section of the Chinese market they believe is an excellent fit for their industry in line with their sustainability strategy.

Mona Mato Acting Trade Commissioner PTI China with Felicity Bollen, CEO of Niue Tourism.

The team’s China visit comes closely on the heels of Niue Premier Toke Talagi signing on the country’s membership to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Though China is a huge market, Niue’s tourism strategy is aimed at ensuring their marketing and promotional campaign is targeted to attract a niche market of quality tourists and not the masses.

Mrs Bollen says that the yield is priority, so: “Quality is more important for us than quantity. We are currently working on a number of exciting products that will form a part of marketing Niue in China,” she says.

Mona Mato, Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) China Acting Trade Commissioner, welcomed Mrs Bollen and her team in China, accompanying them at events.

“In delivering our PTI China services, it’s important we understand our member country’s national strategy whether it be exports, investments or tourism,” Mr Mato told Pacific Periscope.

“This helps us formulate a part of our work plan so that it aligns well with the strategic focus of the country and the mandate set by our Pacific leaders,” he added.

Tourism is one of three priority economic sectors for the Government of Niue and a major revenue earner. Niue’s efforts to grow visitor numbers over the past five years have been extremely successful, achieving sustained growth in visitors of over 11 per cent annually on average.

With a population of 1700 and a workforce of just about 850 people, maintaining such growth will not be sustainable and there are already challenges in coping with environmental impacts and visitor demands.

There is no gainsaying the importance of sustainability in a highly consumptive industry like tourism in a small, ecologically sensitive and sparsely populated country like Niue.

Niue is seeking to manage its tourism sector sustainably by setting in place both planning and regulatory frameworks to guide the development and management of the sector that will encourage the long-term sustainability of the resources on which its tourism is founded.

During this trip to China, Mrs Bollen will also travel to the city of Zhuhai where Niue Tourism has an existing relationship with the city. This already demonstrates an exciting beginning for Niue Tourism as it plans to increase its presence in China by building on this relationship. She then travels on to Guangzhou for a week for a Tourism Meeting as part of the China Pacific Tourism Year.

Mrs Bollen was recently appointed Deputy Chairperson of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) where she too shared some of the focus and marketing initiatives of SPTO.

Niue will be hosting the Regional Tourism Ministers’ meeting in October this year and will also recognise the China-Pacific Tourism Year.

“PTI China will continue to support Niue Tourism as they roll out their marketing efforts to further expand Niue’s influence in the Chinese market,” Mr Mato told Pacific Periscope.

For more information, email PTI China Tourism Promotions Manager Vivienne Song on vivienne.song@pacifictradeinvest.org.cn

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