Tonga's Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakako opened the Business Day on Friday at the Fa'onelua Convention Centre.  Lady Fanetupouvava'u Tu'ivakako was also present as the Guest of Honor.  Presentations were carried out by Air New Zealand, Air Pacific, Virgin Australia and the domestic carrier, Chathams Pacific.

The Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano in his opening speech acknowledged his Government's commitment to the development of the Tourism Indudstry in Tonga.  Tourism generated TOP$58 million in 2010, provided employment for over 2000 people and contributes over 15% of the GDP.

After the opening program, the agents had the chance to meet  with  35 tourism operators registered for the Business Day exchange.

Over 20 Tourism Trade Partners participated at the 2012 'Eva Mai Tourism Experience and prior to  the Business Day the Operators were taken on tours to experience Tourism Products and Activities offered to visitors. The Agents had the chance to travel to the outer islands of Ha'apai, Vava'u and 'Eua.

‘Eva Mai is the Tongan casual way of saying you are welcome to come on over for a visit, a meal, a coffee, a chat or to simply talk business. Last week, the international delegates got to do all of these things and more.

The six day Exchange itinerary also included a welcome ceremony, traditional buffet dinners and cultural shows and land and sea tours of Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai and ‘Eua. The agents were escorted on the tours by the prominent members of the tourism industry to ensure they experienced the best of what the Kingdom of Tonga offers.  

The 'Eva Mai Tonga Tourism Experience 2012 held its farewell program a 'Oholei Beach on Friday 9 March, 2012.  The Hon. Minister of Tourism, together with over 100 invited guests and agents, joined the closing ceremony.  According to the Chairman of the 'Eva Mai Working committee,  Mr. Adrian Ali, “‘Eva Mai gave the agents first-hand experience of Tonga tourism products, which previously they would have only known about via brochures, videos, websites and overseas tradeshows”. “ ‘Eva Mai will not only reinforce images in marketing materials but also help them better know the sites, food, scenery and the local people who provide these services,” said Mr Ali.

According to Sandra Fifita of the Ministry of Tourism, 'we are pleased with 'Eva Mai this year, although we still have rooms for improvement.  'This is only the 3 year since its inception in 2009, we have learned as we developed the programs and are looking forward to more improvement for next year's program'.  'We also appreciate the efforts put forward by the local Tourism Industry Operators for 'Eva Mai this year', said Mrs. Fifita.

'Eva Mai 2012 is a joint effort by the Tonga Tourist Association, the Local Tourism Industry Community, Ministry of Tourism and the airlines (namely Air New Zealand, Air Pacific, Chathams Airline and Virgin Australia).

 The Ministry of Tourism and the Tonga Tourist Association would like to thank all the sponsors and participants of the 2012 ‘Eva Mai Tonga Tourism Exchange.

The 2013 ‘Eva Mai Tonga Tourism Exchange is now set for the  5 - 9 March.
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Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano during his opening speech

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Minister of Tourism, Hon. Viliami Uasike Latu during his welcoming speech

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Business Day

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Representatives from Seaview Lodge during the Business Day

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Kongakava representatives

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Above & Below:  Agents enjoying themselves during the closing program at Oholei Beach

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