16 Jun 2008

Report says whale watching major tourist boon for Tonga

5:32 am on 16 June 2008

An International Fund for Animal Welfare report indicates whale watching plays a major role in attracting tourists to the Kingdom of Tonga.

The report says whales continue to contribute strongly to the country's economy, with whale watching tourism generating almost 2 million US dollars annually and increasing at a rate of 20% a year.

Since hunting was banned by royal decree in 1978 Tonga has become an important breeding ground for whales.

The report shows that in 2006 alone more than 9,800 people went on whale watching trips, representing an increase of 20% annually since 1998.