August 8, 2020

Cruise ship in Nuku’alofa


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From Matangi

Albatros passenger talks to a vendor at Vuna Wharf, Nuku’alofa. 7 February 2020.

The Albatros arrived in Nuku’alofa on Friday morning, February 7 on a Pacific Islands cruise. It is the second cruise to visit the capital this year bringing a total of 801 passengers and crew.

The cruise ship docked at Vuna wharf at 7:00am, after arriving from Samoa. It is expected to depart for New Zealand, later in the evening.

Albatros is on a 121-days cruise, since departing Monaco in December, last year.

Before Tonga, it has been to Spain, Portugal, St Barthelemy Island, Dutch Antilles, Virgin Gorda Island, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island, Panama, Costa Rica, French Polynesia and Samoa. 

This is not Albatros’s first time to Tonga. In 2017, it rescued six Tongan fishermen who were stranded at sea for three-days on their fishing boat.

Travel advisory

Meanwhile, Tonga’s Ministry of Health issued a second travel advisory on February 3.

It stated, while no cases of coronavirus have been identified in Tonga, all international travellers arriving in all ports of entry into Tonga would be required to complete a Traveler’s Arrival Health Declaration Card.

In addition, vessel operators and airlines operating in Tonga are required to report the presence of any sick person on board as required under the International Health Regulations (2005).

Pacific tourism outlook

Yesterday, the ANZ Bank’s Pacific Insight forecasted that the coronavirus might have a limited impact on Pacific tourism.

“While the necessary response to the coronavirus outbreak has been to restrict international travel, we think the tourism-dependent Pacific economies, such as Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa and Cook Islands, will be relatively insulated.

“Only a small proportion of tourists to the Pacific travel from China, accounting for less than 5% of visitors in 2019.

“People from the bigger tourist groups – from Australia, New Zealand and the US – may offset that loss, if they divert travel plans from Asia to the Pacific.

“We think Australia’s bushfires may also lead some Australians to choose the Pacific rather than domestic travel destinations,” the ANZ Pacific Insight stated.

Albatros docks at Vuna Wharf, Nuku’alofa. 7 February 2020.

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