The Government of Tonga welcomes Private Sector investment in all sectors of the economy, and believes there are areas of great comparative advantage for Tonga. These include: tourism, agriculture and fishing sectors. Government will encourage investment in these areas to the fullest extent possible. Opportunities also exist in manufacturing and in the construction industry and Private Sector work in these areas is encouraged.
The tourism sector has great future potential. Within the tourism industry, sustainable tourism, drawing on the unique and largely untouched natural environment with a strong and authentic local culture, was considered to be a significant opportunity. Traditional Tongan customs and culture provide a friendly welcome for visitors. Promoting tourism should help to create jobs in Tonga as well as bring in revenue to Tonga-owned and joint-ventures activities. Investment in tourism can be targeted most crucially in the accommodation sector, in order to expand the number and improve dramatically the quality of accommodations available to tourists within Tonga. Investment should also be solicited for tourism-related activities, including high-end restaurants, tour operators, and other activities that will make a tourist come and stay in Tonga.
Fishing is a key contributor to the Tongan economy. It is also an important source of income and food for a significant portion of the population. Commercial fishing and aquaculture are established industries that require support in both “hard” and “soft” infrastructures. In particular,investment is sought to assist in exporting, with an example of such possible investment a purpose-built export pack-house, located wharf-side with room to expand if and as the industry grows. Other investment to expand the industry can be located in bottom fishery and commercial sport fishery, with perhaps an eye on expanding tourism-related fishing.
Agriculture remains the most important source of livelihood for many Tongan people. It contributes around one quarter of GDP, and together with fish, constitutes almost all of Tonga’s merchandise exports. Tonga has land and a climate suitable for a wide array of agricultural, livestock and horticultural pursuits. Tonga provides opportunities for potential investors, particularly those that lead to agro-processing and export, provision of agricultural stores, and support services are also opportunities. Specific investment in the agricultural industry in Tonga could be made in several areas, including in grains (especially maize and soy beans) and livestock (poultry – including eggs – pork and beef). The industry believes that there are synergies to be had between the two, with grains driving a feed industry, which in turn would dramatically improve the viability, scale, and options of livestock. An objective of the Government and the industry would thus be for import substitution, essentially to attain self sufficiency in these items grown in Tonga. building on these investments, it is possible that Tonga can bring in higher-level investments to support a premium beef industry.
While acknowledging the constraints imposed by small market size, the Government is supportive of growing Tonga’s manufacturing base. Current production includes furniture, food and beverages (bakery lines, soft drinks, and beer), fabrication using imported materials, manufacturing of construction materials, and small boat building. Paint is exported from Tonga to a number of nearby Pacific Island markets.