27 Aug 2015

Tonga tourism focuses on culture and heritage

4:43 pm on 27 August 2015

Tonga's Tourism Authority is joining with local villagers in a campaign to promote the culture and heritage of the Kingdom to visitors.

The Authority's acting General Manager Owen Pau'u says the community has been working together to delve into local histories and traditions in an effort to highlight the wealth of culture in the islands.

Mr Pau'u says Tonga is unique in how much of its culture and tradition has been preserved through history.

He says having the only existing Pacific monarchy is also special.

"We're certainly proud of our royal family as well as other traditions. For example our ta'ovala, (woven mats), that we wear everyday. We have different ta'ovala for different occasions and also represent of who we are, of what kind of ta'ovala we wear to certain occasions."

Mr Pau'u says as part of the new focus, some of the villages have consulted with elders to identify historical sites and have erected English signs in specific areas and historic story-boards.

Tonga's King Tupou VI

Tonga's King Tupou VI Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Indira Stewart