Positive trend for International arrivals continues

International Arrivals & Departures December 2017

  Dec 17
Nov 17
Oct 17
Sep 17

Total Arrivals
13,036 9,210 10,556 13,624
Total Departures
10,201 9,603 10,974 13,277

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

Total international arrivals continued to follow the usual trend to record the highest air arrival in December every year as people come from abroad to spend Christmas and new year with families here in Tonga. Total international arrivals increased by 3,826 passengers (41.5%), which was attributed to a 5,347 increase in air arrival visitors. A total of 9,625 air arrival visitors was recorded during the month, which was also the highest for 2017. Sea arrivals declined due to no cruise ships arrivals during the month and lower yacht arrivals reflecting the end of the whale watching season.

New Zealand continued to be the leading country for visitors’ country of residence, which accounted for 56.3% of total visitors. This was followed by visitors from 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 rose by 6.2% to a total of 10,201 passengers, 5,504 passengers (53.9%) of total departures were Tongan residents. This largely reflected students travelling to spend their school holidays overseas. Of the total 5,504 departing passengers, 36.5% were between the age group 5-24 years old.

Additionally, travel receipts increased by $3.2 million (47.3) to a total of $10.0 million over the month coinciding with the rise in total arrivals.

In year ended terms, the total number of international arrivals increased by 1,231 passengers (1.0%). Total air arrivals rose by 4,700 passengers (4.9%) but was partially offset by a 3,995 (15.5%) decline in cruise ship arrivals. Total cruise ships docked in Tonga’s port during 2017 declined by 7 ships compared to a total 19 ships in 2016. A favorable whale watching season during the year resulted in a 28.9% increase in yacht arrivals. The higher number of arrivals was also consistent with a $17.3 million (18.1%) increase in travel receipts to $112.9 million over the year to December 2017. This may have also supported the transportation, trade and other sectors of the economy.

The total international departures also rose by 0.6% over the year mainly due to a 4.5% increase in international air 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 developments in the international arrivals and its impact on the tourism and other sectors.


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 - December 2017
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