Higher international sea arrival in September 2017

International Arrivals & Departures September 2017

  Sep 17
Aug 17
Jul 17
Jun 17

Total Arrivals
13,624 11,523 9,711 11,787
Total Departures
13,277 11,677 10,692 10,233

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

The total international arrivals increased further over the month by 2,101 (18.2%) passengers, of which 78.7% were visitors and the remainder were returning residents. Sea arrival1 passengers increased more than double the number of arrivals last month, which rose by 2,692 to a total of 4,334 passengers. The increase in cruise arrivals was due to 2 cruise ships that arrived during the month whilst the whale watching season brought in more yacht arrival passengers. These outweighed the decline in air arrivals of 591 passengers (6.0%) for both visitors and returning residents. 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 for vacation, followed by visiting families, business trip and for various other reasons.

Total international departures also rose by 13.7% to a total of 13,277 passengers, consistent with the rise in international arrivals.

However, travel receipts declined in September 2017 by $1.0 million (7.9%) to a total of $11.6 million. Although cruise ship arrivals increased, it had minimal impact on tourism earnings due to its usual one day stopover.

In year ended terms, the total number of international arrivals grew by 16,356 passengers (14.4%). Sea arrivals (assuming they are all visitors) increased by 13,093 passengers (67.9%) as a result of more cruise ship arrivals and a favourable whale season during the year. Additionally, returning residents arriving by air rose by 1,894 passengers (5.3%), followed by a 1,369 (2.3%) rise in air arrival visitors. 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 the $27.2 million (31.2%) increase in travel receipts to $114.6 million over the year to September 2017.

The total international departures also rose by 16,593 passengers (14.7%) over the year mainly due to a rise of 16,623 passengers (21.6%) in international visitors’ departures.


The Reserve Bank remains optimistic that the tourism sector 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 - September 2017
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