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Tonga Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Asia & Oceania
Full Name: Kingdom of Tonga
Capital City: Nuku'alofa
Language Spoken: Tongan, English

Tonga Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

20 00 S, 175 00 W

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: unnamed location on Kao Island 1,033 m

Land boundaries

0 km

Natural hazards

cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity on Fonuafo'ou

Natural resources

fish, fertile soil

Land use

arable land: 20% permanent crops: 14.67% other: 65.33% (2005)

Environmental current issues

deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations

Climate

Tonga's climate is marginally cooler than most tropical areas. The best time to visit is from May to November. Heavy rains occur from December to March.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+13

Population

114,689 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 35.3% (male 20,679/female 19,843) 15-64 years: 60.5% (male 34,399/female 34,964) 65 years and over: 4.2% (male 2,059/female 2,745) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 20.7 years male: 20.1 years female: 21.3 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

2.01% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

25.37 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

5.28 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 69.82 years male: 67.32 years female: 72.45 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

3 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Business meetings are normally semi-casual with a shirt and tie typically worn. Shaking hands is a suitable form of greeting. English and French are widely spoken in business circles. Office hours are 0830-1630 Monday to Friday.

Crime

There are no known threats to foreigners traveling in Tonga. The country?s crime rate is relatively low. Petty crimes such as pickpocketing and petty theft do occur. Travelers are advised not to leave valuables such as cameras, watches, jewelry, and money openly visible or unattended. Police response to crimes depends on where the crime took place. Response to a crime in downtown Nuku?alofa is quick, as opposed to a slower response to a crime some distance from the police station.

Hotels

There are excellent hotels, motels and resort villages of Tongan-style houses. Traditional boarding houses are also very popular with tourists. There is a growing selection of accommodation and capacity is expected to increase to 900 rooms. Niu-akalo Hotel offers camping grounds.

Communications

Telephone IDD is service available in the country. The country code is 676; there are no area codes. The outgoing international code is 0. Cable & Wireless, Ltd. provides fax services. Telegrams and cables can be booked through Cable & Wireless Limited, Tonga. The main post office is located in the center of Nuku?alofa and open 0830-1630 Monday to Friday. All mail must be collected from the post office. Airmail to Europe takes approximately ten days. There are branch offices on Ha?apai and Vava?u.

Electricity

is 240 volts AC, 50Hz. Electricity 240 volts AC, 50Hz.

Plug Types

I

Food And Dining

Restaurants have table service, and are found mainly in hotels. Apart from hotel dining rooms, there are restaurants featuring Tongan, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Taiwanese cuisine.
National specialties:
? 'Ufi (a large white yam).
? Taro.
? Lu pulu (meat and onions, marinated in coconut milk, baked in taro leaves in an underground oven).
? Feke (grilled octopus or squid in coconut sauce).
? Devilled clams, 'ota (raw fish marinated in lemon juice) and lobster.
? Tropical fruits and salads are excellent.
? Feasts play a major role in the Tongan lifestyle. Up to 30 different dishes may be served on a pola (a long tray of plaited coconut fronds), and will typically include suckling pig, crayfish, chicken, octopus, pork and vegetables steamed in an umu (underground oven), with a variety of tropical fruits.
Tipping:
Not encouraged, but no offence is caused if services are rewarded in this way.
Nightlife
Nightlife is sedate, limited to music and dancing in the hotels, clubs and occasionally at the Yacht Club. Floorshows are held on some nights in the main hotels and the Tongan National Center. Tongan feasts and entertainment are also organized.

Entry departure requirements

* Please see visa section

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for at least six months required by all.

Note

Ordinary, diplomatic or official Tongan or Tonga National passport holders may enter the Kingdom with passports valid for the date of arrival in Tonga.

VISAS

Visas required by all except the following who can obtain a visitor's visa free of charge on arrival entitling the holder of stays of up to 31 days:
(a) 1. nationals of countries mentioned in the table above (except nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovak Republic and Slovenia who do need a visa);
(b) nationals of The Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Brunei, Cook Islands, Dominica, Fiji, Kiribati, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Russian Federation, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Tahiti and Her Islands, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Vanuatu and Wallis & Futuna, provided holding a valid return ticket to a country where they have citizenship or a valid endorsement in their passport, granting them residency in a country that is not their country of nationality;
(c) those continuing their journey by the same or first connecting flight within less than 24 hours and not leaving the airport.

Note

Visas, valid on arrival and allowing multiple entry into Tonga, are required by all non-Tongan passport holders who are traveling on a one-way ticket, except for the following:
(a) holders of ordinary, diplomatic or official Tongan passports; (b) holders of Tongan National passports; (c) holders of a letter of authority issued by one of Tonga's overseas diplomatic missions and bearing the official stamp of that Tongan diplomatic mission, or a letter of authority issued by the Immigration Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Tonga, bearing the official stamp of either the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Principal Immigration Officer.

Types of visa and cost

Visitors: T$40 per month. Business: T$200. Employment: T$150. Transit: If transit period exceeds 24 hours, an airport tax of T$25 is payable by all nationals over two years of age.

Note

Companies and businesses registered and operating in Tonga may bring non-nationals into the country on an employment visa, provided that the said non-citizen holds a specialized skill. Persons undertaking voluntary and charitable work in Tonga are also required to hold an employment visa.

Validity

Visitors are allowed stays of up to 31 days. Extensions for a maximum of three months or in exceptional circumstances six months require permission from the Principal Immigration Officer. Business/employment visas are valid for up to two years and are renewable.

Application to

Applications for visas must be made prior to arrival. For enquiries, contact the Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy or High Commission) or the Visa Section, Immigration Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters in Nuku'alofa (fax: 26970 or 23360).

Application Requirements

(a) Valid Passport. (b) Two passport-size photos. (c) Completed application form. (d) Fee, if applicable, accompanied by letter permitting entry into the kingdom and permission to obtain a visa. (e) Onward or return tickets with reserved seats, including valid visa for onward destination if applicable. (f) Proof of adequate funds for duration of stay. Business/Employment: (a)-(d) and, (e) Medical certificate issued by a doctor specified by the Immigration Division. (f) Two character references. (g) Police certificate from national's own country of residence.

Working days required

Approximately two to three.

HIV entry requirements

Test required for anyone staying longer than 6 months

Departure tax

TOP25 for all passengers; children under 12 years of age and transit passengers are exempt.

Embassies

Tonga High Commission in the UK

36 Molyneux Street, London W1H 5BQ, UK
Tel: (020) 7724 5828.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700.

Tonga Consulate General in the USA

360 Post Street, Suite 604, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
Tel: (415) 781 0365.
E-mail: [email protected]
Incidences of robbery and theft have recently increased in Tonga. There have also been some incidences of violent assault. Foreign tourists may be at risk and should take particular care at night.
The threat of terrorism in Tonga is low, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Tel: (0845) 850 2829.
Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tonga

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Tonga.html

Currency

Pa'anga (TOP) = 100 seniti. Notes are in denominations of TOP50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 seniti.

Currency restrictions

There are no restrictions on the import or export of foreign or local currencies.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0900-1600, Sat 0830-1130.

Currency exchange

Foreign exchange is available at banks and at major hotels.

Credit cards

Limited use of both Diners Club and Visa.

Travellers cheques

Accepted at banks and at some hotels and tourist shops. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Australian Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Eua50+ 3 digits
Ha?apai Group69+ 3 digits
Kolonga34+ 3 digits
Masilamea42+ 3 digits
Matangiake44+ 3 digits
Mua32+ 3 digits
Nakolo36+ 3 digits
Neiafu79+ 3 digits
Niuafo?ou80+ 3 digits
Niuatoputapu85+ 3 digits
Nuku?alofa28+ 3 digits
Pea30+ 3 digits
Vaini38+ 3 digits
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment as the standards of care and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

Limited supplies of medication are generally available in the larger pharmacies.

Blood supplies

There is a blood screening service in Tonga, however it is not to international standards and transfusions should be avoided

Medical facilities

Medical facilities in Tonga are limited. The cities of Nuku'alofa and Neiafu have hospitals with emergency and outpatient facilities. Local residents and visitors with serious medical problems are often referred to New Zealand for treatment.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Hazards to bathers include corals and jellyfish, poisonous fish, and sea snakes.

Immunization

Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: Dengue fever - occurs Dengue hemorrhagic fever - occurs Filariasis - prevalent Food-borne and water-borne illness: diseases such as the diarrheal diseases, the typhoid fevers and helminthic infections are common. Hepatitis occurs. Biointoxication may occur from raw or cooked fish and shellfish. Other hazards: High levels of immunization coverage have reduced the incidence of diseases such as measles and diphtheria. Influenza risk extends throughout the year.

Entry requirements

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Vaiola General HospitalP O Box 485 Nuku alofa

Media

The state's control of the media increased following an amendment to the constitution in 2003 which limited the right of the courts to review royal decisions. State-owned radio and TV are usually biased towards Government policy, while private broadcasters offer little independent coverage. Although some privately-owned newspapers carry opposition views, journalists have been known to face harassment and threats of criminal charges.
Press: The Matangi Tonga, The Times of Tonga (New Zealand-based) and Tonga Chronicle are the English-language newspapers.
TV: Television Tonga is state-run. Private networks include TV7 and Friendly Island Broadcasting Network (Vava'u). Tonfon TV is a pay-TV service.
Radio: State-run A3Z Radio Tonga operates Radio Tonga 1 and Kool 90FM. Private stations include Radio 2000, Radio Nuku'alofa and Christian station 93FM.

 

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