Country - Tonga
Tonga Country Information
Tonga is an archipelago of 169 islands situated in Polynesia (a sub-region of Oceania) in the South Pacific Ocean. Out of 169 islands, human presence can be seen in only 36 islands. The land area is about 750 square kilometers but due to wide scattering of the islands in the ocean, the space occupied by the entire archipelago is more or less 700,000 square kilometers in the South Pacific Ocean.
The main island of Tongan archipelago is Tongatapu in which the capital/the largest city Nuku’alofa is located. More than 70% of total population lives in Tongatapu. Tongan and English are the two official languages. English has come to stay as the non-indigenous official language on account of Tonga being under British protection since 1900 for a continuous period of seventy years. As of 2013, about 98% of population follows Christianity with different sub-groups belonging to various sects of the religion.
The main exports of Tonga are non-fillet fresh fish, vegetables, cassava, vanilla, coconuts, Brazil nuts and cashews. The top imports include refined petroleum, poultry meat, cars, sheep/goat meat and sawn wood. While the value of the total exports from Tonga was US $ 14.1 million in 2016, the import bill cost the country US $ 195 million. The trade deficit was US $ 181 million.
The capital city Nuku’alofa literally means “Abode of Love”, according to a local legend. Tonga has earned a respectable sobriquet “Friendly Islands” by virtue of affable reception accorded to the British navigator Captain James Cook on his visit in 1773 A.D.
Tongatapu, the main island of the kingdom, has for tourists the attractions of coral reefs, snorkelling, ancient tombs and coastal blowholes. The islands surrounding Tongatapu have been developed into decent holiday resorts. Tonga’s largest tropical rain forest and cliffs carved by nature into weird shapes make the island of Eua more special, away from 17.5 kilometers southeast Tongatapu. Humpback whales call for tourists’ attention in Vava’u islands which are also famous sites for clear waters that prompt visitors for yatching, kayaking and diving. About 150 yatches get active in Vava’u islands every season.
With 36 inhabited islands, Tonga is a large collection of less populated tiny islands which appear as even more private and personal sites for tourists. Tonga is certainly a place where one can see nature in its original form and the way it is, that has not been deformed by human interference.