Tonga Tourism remains strong amidst the NZ negative travel advice and speculations over safety issues these past months. In an interview between Radio New Zealand and the House of Travel, a key wholesaler in the sector, bookings to Tonga remain strong despite safety concerns with a new MA-60 aircraft flying domestically between Nuku'alofa and Vava'u. According to the House of Travel, there’s 17 per cent growth in travelers to Tonga in the first 7 months of this year. Report from local operator, 'Whales in the Wild' of Vava’u also confirmed that there has been little impact on bookings, “ there are more secured customers than walk-in customers this year than last year.” Mounu Island Resort has only had one cancellation by far and guests are happy with the plane. During this high season and throughout the rest of the year, the local domestic carrier, Real Tonga, has lowered its airfares to Vava’u to TOP$225 one-way.

With confidence, the Ministry is committed to working in partnership with stakeholders on various activities to continually move forward Tonga’s tourism.

 

Collection of images courtesy of Tonga Tourism, Matafonua Lodge and Frank Koloi

On Thursday, 5th September, 2013, the Minister responsible for Tourism officially launched the ‘International Cruise Visitor Survey’ for Tonga, a designed survey in collaboration with the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO). In his opening address, the Minister stated that “the cruise sector market is a promising area of growth for Tonga having invested in a 30 million cruise wharf, airport upgrade, accommodation star grading amongst others.” He added that “the implementation of the survey study would provide the platform to develop and align our investments, diversification of tourism activities and related products, and promote other markets in the transport and handicraft sectors.”

An expected outcome of this survey is to provide information on visitors’ experience of Tonga as an island destination, and the economic impact of the cruise market to Tonga’s domestic economy. This survey commenced with the arrival of the Sea Princess cruise ship on Saturday, 8th September 2013, and will be conducted for every cruise ship that ports in Tonga the rest of the year and in 2014.