Despite only attracting a tiny proportion of the Pacific’s tourist trade, the kingdom is upbeat about the kingdom’s prospect.
According to a recent report from the South Pacific Tourism Organisation, Tonga only attracted 2.9% of the region’s visitors in 2017.
The SPTO report said 2.13 million tourists visited the region by air last year.
The region’s tourism industry leader, Fiji, recorded 842,884 arrivals.
However, tourism figures were actually up in Tonga, with 64,434 visitors in 2017 compared with 59,130 in 2016.
Speaking a recent tourism promotion event, Tonga’s Ministry of Tourism CEO, Sione Finau Moala-Mafi, said Tonga was on its way to becoming “the ideal holiday hotspot.”
“The Kingdom of Tonga may have been severely struck by Cyclone Gita in February, but it hasn’t dampened the spirits of its local hotel, airline and whale swimming operators,” the Minister said.
“The ‘Friendly Islands’ still has its paradise intact.”
While the number of tourists from Australia to Tonga has declined, the number of visitors from China, Japan, Europe, the UK, Canada, the United States and New Zealand has increased.
The number of Chinese tourists grew from 1,318 in 2016 to 2,006 in 2017.
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