Tonga gets small slice of tourism growth in Pacific region
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 - 16:55
Tonga as a tourist destination is attracting only a small share of travellers compared to leading Pacific destinations, which saw large increases in visitors in 2017, according to the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) report released last week.
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Thanks for you report. While we rank quite low in terms of visitor numbers and we could probably benefit from some more (higher value) tourists, please note the article heading is slightly misleading. Growth of 5.6% between 2016 and 2017 for Tonga, compared to 3.1% for the region means we grew quite a bit quicker so increased our share a little.
Why are we surprised ? as a
Why are we surprised? As a tourist destination we don't really have anything spectacular to attract visitors with. Tonga has lost most of her heritage, how could the government of the day let these icon disappear? How could they not envisage the importance, of the "Royal Chapel" the Malumalu 'a Fulilangi the Fu'u Koka, plus some old buildings that should've been preserved as heritage sites for future generation but also an asset to attract tourists to visit Tonga. Some might say what about the Trilithon, the Terraced Tomb, well, first of all the Paepae 'o tele'a is mostly overgrown with wee, not easily accessible from the main road, the tree that captain Cook sat under has died and instead of replacing it with another tree they put a concrete marker in its place. Tourist don't want to see concrete, they have enough at home they want to see originality. The Royal Chapel should have been a heritage site for its historical significance. Where is the tree stump that was used as the throne, when proclaiming a new king the Tongan way, these are what visitors want to see. So what is there to see in Tongatapu? Ha'amonga, Pupu'a Puhi, Palasi, Paepae 'o Tele'a, that's about it aside from nightclubs. 'Eua's flora and fauna are disappearing at an alarming rate, visitors would have enjoyed walking through the rain forest and listening to the gurgle of cool fresh water flowing to the sea. Parrots used be heard are hardly seen anymore, green iguana are no more. This is the world overseas visitors want to experience, but sadly we don't have them.