Tourism

Tonga tsunami shakes up tourism across the Pacific

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano in Tonga caused tsunami warnings that have many Islander and Pacific adjacent nations worried about how this will impact tourism and business in their area.

Tutukaka Marina off New Zealand’s northland east coast has been dealt with a literal blow as eight to ten of its boats have sunk, many other boats have been damaged and there is extensive damage to marina structures said Dive! Tutukaka owner Jeroen Jongejans, according to Stuff.

“There were a lot of boats that floated towards us, but we managed to pull them away and put them elsewhere,” Jongejans said.

“One (marina walkway) next door to us was completely crumpled.”

The New Zealand Civil Defence cancelled a warning for people to stay off beaches and shore areas while reminding people strong and unusual currents, and unpredictable surges could continue after the warning was cancelled.

Similar warnings were given to Australians recently as Bondi Beach was evacuated over the weekend as tsunami warnings were given to most of the east coast.

Police and SES were seen escorting people off the world-famous beach after giving multiple warnings via megaphone.

“Off the beach please,” an SES worker said.

“There is a marine-based tsunami alert. Please get off the beach.”

Popular tourist destinations like Fraser Island off the coast of Queensland, Point Danger on the NSW and QLD border, and Norfolk Island were also given tsunami warnings, with Norfolk seeing waves as large as 1.27 metres.

Another nation impacted by the tsunami is Fiji, where the volcano’s eruption could be clearly heard over 1,000 kilometres away.

Despite the seemingly large severity of the tsunami warnings, the impact of COVID-19, and the island nations’ recent flooding, Fiji’s minister for economy, civil service, and communication Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says people are still keen to visit, according to the FBC.

“A lot of people are booking into May, June, and July. I’ve also seen some of the bookings way down to October and November of this year,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

The Fijian Minister assured that despite an occupancy drop in hotels, there is still a strong interest in Fijian tourism and he emphasised the island nation’s dedication to providing a safe tourist destination for travelers.

“We need to continue to ensure that the COVID safe measures and protocols we put in place are well adhered to because that is what leads to confidence,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.


Featured Image: ABC News



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