New direct Samoan air service can lift tourist numbers, Real Tonga CEO
5 July, 2018, 10:00 pm
NUKU’ALOFA, 05 JULY 2018 (KANIVA TONGAN NEWS) – Real Tonga’s new service to Samoa could draw tourists from there and Fiji to Tonga if the government supports the airline.
That’s the message from Real Tonga General Manager Tele Faletau.
“The service is there now and it will really depend on whether our government will get behind us and provide support through their own marketing efforts and bilateral arrangements with Samoa, who have already demonstrated their support and desire to make this happen, not just for our locals, but for our combined tourism growth,” Palu said.
Tourists visiting Tonga last year was far lower than those visiting the Pacific market leaders, Samoa and Fiji.
Real Tonga’s service to Samoa was launched on June 29 after several month’s delay caused by Cyclone Gita.
In his speech welcoming Real Tonga’s first flight into Apia Samoa’s Minister of Tourism, Sala Fata Pinati said the new regional alliance meant the two countries were free from what he called the “daylight robbery” of islanders by international airlines.
“It is certainly costly and very stupid for Samoans to fly to New Zealand over Tonga to catch Air New Zealand’s flight back to Tonga and vice versa for Tongans to fly to New Zealand in order to fly back over Tonga to attend a meeting in neighbouring Samoa.”
The airline’s Saab 340 will fly to Apia twice a week on Mondays and Fridays.
Outward and return flights will go from Tongatapu via Vava’u.
Airfares are TP$920 (US$399) plus taxes one way. Airfares for children between two and 11 are TP$645 (US$280).
Real Tonga is presently running a launch special of TP$790 (US$343) plus tax, TP$530 (US$230) for children. Infants travel for free.
Real Tonga is code sharing the flights with Samoa airways.
Fiji Airways launched a direct service to Apia from Suva on June 16. It also offers a regular service from Nadi.