No cruise ship arrival drive total arrivals lower

International Arrivals & Departures April 2017

  Apr 17
Mar 17
Feb 17
Jan 17

Total Arrivals
7,031 8,490 9,410 10,008
Total Departures
6,697 8,135 10,601 11,812

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

Total international arrivals1 continued to decline over the month by 1,459 passengers (17.2%) due to no cruise ship arriving during the month. Cruise ship arrivals declined by 3,524 passengers (91.8%) which was partially offset by a 2,052 (44.2%) increase in international air arrivals. Total international air arrivals was 6,693 passengers, whereby 3,840 passengers were visitors. Tonga’s busy season was expected to start in April due to events scheduled such as national sports competition and regional meetings. These included the Oceania Judo Championship, and meetings such as the International Conference on Whales, and the Third Regional Meeting for Energy Transport Ministers. Most visitors’ age fell between the age 25 to 59, followed by the age range of 0 to 19 years which indicated families coming to spend their holiday together. Additionally, most visitors were here to visit families, enjoy holiday, followed by business trips. Majority of the visitors were from New Zealand followed by Australia and the United States of America.

The total international departures declined by 1,438 passengers (17.7%), in line with the no cruise ships arrival.

However, travel receipts remained constant over the month at $7.1 million coninciding with the increase in total international air arrivals.

In year ended terms, the total number of international arrivals grew by 12,095 passengers (11.1%). Sea arrivals2 (assuming they are all visitors) increased by 6,920 passengers (34.5%) as a result of larger number of cruise ships arriving and a favourable whale season during the year. Additionally, air arrival visitors rose by 2,991 passengers (5.4%), followed by a 2,184 (6.4%) rise in air returning residents passengers. The number of celebrations and events that took place during the year to April 2017 supported this growth. The rise in returning residents indicate increase wealth of people to afford holidays to overseas countries. This may have supported the transportation, trade and other sectors of the economy. The higher number of arrivals was also consistent with the $20.5 million (25.1%) increase in travel receipts recorded over the year.

The total international departures also rose by 8,132 passengers (7.4%) over the year mainly due to a 6,408 passengers (34.3%) rise in cruise ship departures.


The Reserve Bank’s positive outlook for the tourism sector will remain vibrant in the upcoming months as Tonga’s busy season has commenced in April 2017. The busy family month of May, scheduled annual church conferences, and Heilala Festival are expected to bring more visitors. The Reserve Bank will continue to closely monitor the country’s economic developments to support economic growth.

1 - Includes Tongan residents and visitors
2 - Includes cruise ship and yacht arrival passengers


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 - April 2017
Released on 15 August 2017 | pdfIcon 187 KB - Download a copy of the full report.

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