2 Mar 2011

Tonga tourism learns lessons after Survivor pull-out

4:00 pm on 2 March 2011

The CEO of Tonga's Ministry of Tourism says valuable lessons have been learned after Vava'u was dropped as a venue for the filming of the Survivor reality TV show.

Sakopo Lolohea says the main reason was the lack of adequate and affordable accommodation for the production crew for the duration of the shoot.

He says the government tried its best to find enough rooms, including sourcing some private homes and even a cruise ship.

But in the end, he says an agreement couldn't be reached on the final accommodation costs, and the show's producers decided to pull out.

"It's a major blow for Tonga actually, particularly because of the very difficult economic situation that Tonga is in at the moment. And I say that, because Survivor has told the government here that their in-country spending to produce this show in Tonga over six months would cost $6 million US, or around 10 million pa'aga, so that would be a huge injection to the local economy, especially on Vava'u, if Survivor had gone ahead."

Sakopo Lolohea says the Survivor show's producers said they haven't ruled out considering Vava'u again, in the future.