25 Mar 2014

Tourist operators in Tonga want warning of Fiji-Vava'u route

7:25 pm on 25 March 2014

A tourist operator on Tonga's Vava'u islands says if an international flight between Fiji and Vava'u is to resume, operators need to be given enough time to ensure they can support the flights.

Tonga's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Samiu Vaipulu, says the government has given Fiji Airways consent to operate the route.

Fiji Airways says it has received an expression of interest from the Tongan Government for Fiji Airways services to Vava'u, which it is now evaluating.

The owner of Tonga Beach Resort and board member of the Tonga Tourism Authority, Shane Walker, says if it does go ahead, they need to make sure it works.

He says it's important tourism operators are given advance notice to be able to market the destination.

"There's no doubt that this just opens up the US market like never before, it's possible for us to have passengers out of the West Coast US flying into Vava'u in less time than it would take to fly into the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, and that's all very important for people when they're working out their travel distance and travel times to start their holiday."

The owner of Tonga Beach Resort, Shane Walker.