Tonga festival has potential to grow into major event


For a country that has been slower to get off the starting blocks on thinking up tourism events than its neighbouring countries, Tonga is doing well in trying to establish the ‘Regatta Vava’u &amp; Festival’ s an event of note in the region.<!--more-->


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Last week it held the fun filled event that revolves around yacht races for the fourth time since it began in 2009. Speaking at the opening, Dr. Viliami Uasike Latu, Tonga’s Minister of Commerce, Tourism and Labour said , “Two years ago around 30 yachts participated. Last year this number grew to around 80 yachts – a significant positive growth.” He thanked the yachties and tourists that had gathered to take part in the event this year.

This year’s event attracted a number of experienced, high profile yachting journalists such as Michael J. Fitzgerald who has worked as an editor in California and published numerous articles in sailing and boating magazines. The Organisers of the event anticipate the 4th Regatta Vava'u &amp; Festival to receive coverage in Latitude 38 and Cruising World, both popular sailing and marine magazines.

The event is instrumental in stimulating the local economy of Vava’u, the minister said. Promotion of the event is part of Tonga’s recently unveiled plans to position the country as “Kingdom of Tonga – True South Pacific.”

A number of side events like “Kid’s Day,” demonstration and sale of handicrafts – and the “best Full Moon Party in the South Pacific” were held around the Regatta. The New Zealand High Commission &amp; NZ Film Commission also helped screen a vintage 1930s film of Tonga.

Other popular events include the pub crawl, Siu'a'alo race, Chathams Pacific Prize Party, fun tournaments and plenty of opportunity to meet people. The Festival is certainly growing larger every year and is on course to feature as a “must visit” in Tonga’s event calendar as one of the country’s foremost attractions.


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