On the 27th to the 30th of October, 2011, the Honorable Minister of Tourism Dr. Viliami Uasike Latu accompanied by CEO of the Ministry Mr. Sakopo Lolohea attended the 13th session of the China International Travel Mart in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China.
        The Honorable Dr. Latu and Mr. Lolohea were received by the Deputy Governor of Kunming, Mr. Luo Zhengfu and were met by the Director General of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), Mr. Shao Qiwei. During the Travel Mart, there was special attention given to the participation of the Pacific Islands as many of the Pacific islands are unexplored destinations in Tourism. Other member countries of the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO) also attended the Travel Mart.
         “An increase in tourism arrivals in the Kingdom from the Chinese market will depend on our niche marketing strategies for this market. Tourism packages will have to be more attractive and meet consumer demands.” the Honorable Minister said.
Today, tourism accounts for 22% of Tonga’s GDP. Tonga’s infrastructural development will need to meet Asian demands in terms of flight connections and a review of visa restrictions. “This is where Fiji has an advantage over Tonga. And Tonga will need to address these issues with the airlines and government policy makers,” the Honorable Minister added.
        The 2011 CITM was carried out on an area of 50.000 sqm, in which 2.233 booths was constructed for the event. The Chinese participants utilized 1791 booths and international participants fill in for 442 booths. The event was participated by 95 countries and local governments in China participated in the event, and it attracted almost a thousand buyers from 46 countries and local government in China.
        The CITM is the largest professional travel mart in the whole of Asia held annually in Shanghai and Kunming alternately were it focuses on the tourism industry worldwide and it has from all sectors of the travel industry including international and domestic tourist organizations, travel agencies, hotels, airlines and related travel companies.
        CITM 2011 was jointly organized by China National Tourism Administration, Yunnan Provincial People’s Government and the Civil Aviation Administration of China.