Tourism

“It was horrific”: Tonga belted by category four cyclone

The South Pacific nation of Tonga has been lashed by a category four cyclone overnight, flattening buildings throughout the county.

Tonga has now declared a state of emergency in the wake of the cyclone.

Cyclone Gita hit land last night with winds topping 230 kilometres per hour.

According to ABC News, Tonga’s Parliament building was ravaged by the storm, as well other buildings in the main island.

Speaking to ABC, Graham Kenna from Tonga’s National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) said: “It was a terrifying night.

“I have been doing disaster responses for 30 years and I think it’s the scariest night that I’ve had. It was horrific.

“We’re on the third floor of one of the safest buildings in Nuku’alofa and the building was shaking and getting pounded by debris from missing roofs.”

At present, Gita is showing no signs of slowing down as the cyclone makes its way towards Fiji and the Ono-i-Lau group of islands.

Smarttraveller has released a statement warning tourists about the cyclone on the government site.

“A category 4 tropical cyclone is expected to reach Tonga on Monday 12 February.  Very destructive winds as high as 120 kilometres per hour are expected.

“Staff at the Australian High Commission in Nuku’alofa have been instructed to stay indoors, and the High Commission will be closed on Monday 12 February.

“Monitor local media, including local radio broadcasts, for updates. Follow instructions of local authorities. The level of our advice has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in Tonga.

gita

“Someone’s roof is in my front garden … some of the old landmark buildings that are 100 years old have been severely damaged by debris,” Kenna added.

About 800 families have been evacuated and are staying in a community shelter.

Check out footage of the aftermath here:

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Tourism

Travel DAZE to Kick Arse on September 3!

BREAKING: The industry’s favourite travel forum is back for another year – and less than two weeks away! Oh, and Bruce Poon Tip is speaking, so we’d get your tickets fast if we were you.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Big Fat Wholesaler Wrap

If you’re thinking of booking a holiday, this wholesaler wrap is just the thing. It’s also perfect if you want to feel extra sad about being in the office today instead of at one of these places.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Qantas debuts new campaign starring Hugh Jackman

Is that strong coffee just not getting you in the mood for work this Monday morning? Have a helping of Hugh Jackman instead. You’re welcome.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

TravelManagers partners up with Luxury Escapes

by Ali Coulton

Our wandering scribe managed to file this story in between luaus from the TravelManager’s annual conference in Hawaii

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

INDUSTRY FIRST: TravelManagers to provide free mental health support

We’ve been applauding TravelManagers’ amazing new initiative from our desk all morning. Which is a departure from our normal Monday routine of sleeping on it.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

AMAZING RACE: This is how all famils should be run!

Sipping mai tais, crashing wedding photos AND paying for strangers laundry? Sounds eerily similar to the end results of a Travel Weekly staff party.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Lombok suffers another devastating earthquake

Another earthquake has struck the Indonesian island of Lombok, hitting the tourist hotspot two weeks to the day after a quake which killed more than 480 people.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

L.A’s top hotels launch “Endless Summer” promotion

Coincidentally, we’re getting our own glimpse of summer by looking at the colour of our bright blue freezing cold hands. Close enough, right?

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

The 10 simple steps to successful business

by Tammy Marshall

Have you walked nine steps with your business and are still not finding success? Walk no longer, the tenth lies within.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Flight review: Hawaiian Airlines Extra Comfort SYD-HNL

Travel Weekly roadtested Hawaiian Airlines’ Extra Comfort option. Though that’s not to say we piloted the plane from there, we were much too comfy for anything that strenuous.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Here’s how to avoid common travel insurance traps

We chatted with Finder.com.au’s insurance expert Richard Laycock to bring you some great tips and tricks about how to cut through jargon and decipher the fine print.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

These are the best dates to book flights for the festive season

There’s nothing more stressful than trying to book flights for the festive period. Except for Christmas shopping, cooking the Christmas roast, and just about every other aspect of the silly season.

Share

CommentComments