Niue’s economic base is foreign aid, with more than 80 percent of employed adults working for wages for the government. Per capita aid at more than NZ$20,000 a head is among the highest in the world.
The New Zealand and Niue Governments are eager to build the local economy to make it more self-sufficient. In September 2009, a report by Trevor Hall to the NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully identified tourism – including eco-tours, scuba diving and snorkeling – as the sector with the greatest potential for development. The ‘Hall Report’ now forms the blueprint for the development of the Niue tourist industry.
More regular air services from New Zealand and potentially from Tonga will be a key part of that development. In 2008, there were 4750 visitors to Niue, compared with 121,000 to Samoa and 94,000 to the Cook Islands.