Cruise ship boosted both the passenger arrivals & departures

International Arrivals & Departures
April 2016

  Apr 16 Mar 16
Feb 16
Jan 16

Total Arrivals
10,153 7,383 11,453 8,150
Total Departures
9,839 8,488 13,059 9,441

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

Arrivals & departures fell after a strong month

The arrival of the Pacific Pearl and Sea Princess cruise ships in April brought 3,690 passengers contributing to a 2,279 increase in the total number of international passenger arrivals1. Air arrivals also rose by 487 passengers (8.2%) driven by both the returning residents and visitors, with returning residents increasing the most by 265 passengers (10.0%). The majority of the visitors that arrived by air in April were from New Zealand (NZ), Australia and the United States (US). The main purpose of travel was to visit friends and families and also for holiday. The commencement of Fiji Airways’ direct route from Fiji to Vava’u and also the introduction of the Air New Zealand Boeing 777 flights in April contributed to the rise. The arrival by yacht in April recorded 8 visitors. The increase in the number of international arrivals in April coincides with a $2.1 million (43.8%) rise in travel receipts. The transportation sector, tourism sector, and other sectors in the economy may have been positively impacted by the increase in visitors arriving during the month. 

The total number of international departures also increased by 1,351 passengers (15.9%) over the month due to a 2,287 passengers (162.1%) rise in the number of departing visitors travelling by cruise ships. This offset the decline by 938 passengers (13.3%) in air departures.

In year-ended terms, total number of international arrivals continued to experience growth of 14,498 passengers (15.3%) from arrivals by both air and sea. The air arrivals rose by 9,895 passengers (12.5%), and were mainly Tongan residents which rose by 5,960 passengers (21.3%). Visitors arriving by air also increased by 3,935 passengers (7.7%). The higher arrivals reflected more numbers of cruise ships that arrived during the year compared to the previous year. Travel receipts during the year to April 2016 rose by $15.6 million (23.1%) in line with the increase in arrivals. This is supported by events that occurred during the year such as the King’s coronation, villages and various family re-unions, school anniversaries and annual church conferences which may have supported the tourism, transportation, trade and other sectors of the economy.

The total international departures rose as well by 13,975 passengers (14.5%) over the year due mainly to a rise of 9,505 passengers (11.7%) in departures by air.


International arrivals are expected to increase in the coming months due to the annual church conferences, Tupou College Toloa 150th anniversary celebration and the upcoming Latter Day Saints 100th anniversaries. The setting up of the Chinese group tours and signing of the mutual visa exemption agreement between Tonga and China would also attract more tourists from China. The National Reserve Bank of Tonga will continue to closely monitor these developments and the country’s economic developments to support economic growth.

1 - Includes Tongan residents and visitors

Download the full report: International Arrivals & Departures - April 2016






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