Seasonal decline in International arrivals and departures

International Arrivals & Departures November 2017

  Nov 17
Oct 17
Sep 17
Aug 17

Total Arrivals
9,210 10,556 13,624 11,523
Total Departures
9,603 10,974 13,277 11,677

Note: Total Arrivals & Departures including air, cruise ship and yacht arrivals & departures.
Source: Statistics Department

The total international arrivals declined over the month by 1,346 (12.8%) passengers, of which 60.1% were visitors and the remainder were returning residents. This is a typical trend for months with less activities in the tourism sector to attract tourists. All categories of international arrivals declined except for returning residents which rose over the month by 563 passengers (18.1%). Cruise ship and yacht arrival passengers decreased by 1,548 to a total of 1,260 passengers. Lower cruise ship passenger arrivals was due to one cruise ship that arrived during the month compared to two ships in the previous month. The whale watching season usually ends in October each year, which may have contributed to the yacht arrival passengers declining by 78.3%.

Majority of air arrival visitors were from New Zealand followed by Australia and the United States of America. Most of the visitors who arrived during the month were here to visit families and friends, vacation, and several other reasons.

Total international departures also declined over the month by 12.5% to a total of 9,603 passengers, however slightly higher than the total international arrivals due to a 47.7% increase in Tongan residents travelling abroad.

Additionally, travel receipts declined by $3.2 million (31.8%) to a total of $6.8 million over the month which coincided with the decrease in total arrivals.

In year ended terms, the total number of international arrivals grew by 9,469 passengers (8.0%). Sea arrivals1 (assuming they are all visitors) increased by 6,739 passengers (30.0%) as a result of more cruise ship arrivals and a favourable whale watching season during the year. Additionally, air arrival visitors rose by 1,523 passengers (2.6%), followed by a 1,207 (3.3) rise in returning residents arriving by air. The number of celebrations and events that took place during the year supported this growth. This may have supported the transportation, trade and other sectors of the economy. The higher number of arrivals was also consistent with a $26.0 million (28.9%) increase in travel receipts to $115.7 million over the year to November 2017.

The total international departures also rose by 10,980 passengers (9.4%) over the year mainly due to a rise of 11,002 passengers (13.7%) in international visitors’ departures.


The outlook on the tourism sector is that it will continue to remain vibrant in 2017/2018. The Reserve Bank will continue to closely monitor the country’s economic developments to support economic growth.

1 - Includes arrival by cruise ship and yacht


Economics Department
National Reserve Bank of Tonga

Telephone: (676) 24057
Fax: (676) 24201 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


International Arrivals & Departures - November 2017
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