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Tonga Welcomes Visitors to Celebrate Life of a King



23 March 2012
MEDIA RELEASE
Tonga Welcomes Visitors to Celebrate Life of a King

While Tonga continues to mourn the passing of His Majesty King George Tupou V, tourism authorities remind visitors that business continues as usual in the Island Kingdom.

Tonga is currently observing a three-month mourning period, however the Tongan Ministry of Tourism is advising all planned and potential visitors to the country that tourism will remain unaffected.

Ministry of Tourism Acting Director Ms Sandra Fifita says the sudden and unexpected passing of the King has further unified the tight knit communities within the Kingdom.

“While it is an incredibly sad time for Tongans around the world, there is a real beauty in the way the country comes together to celebrate the life of such a well loved and respected monarch as King George Tupou V.
“It is a time for Tongans to share in the life of King George with all those who wish to join, be it tourists or expatriate Tongans returning from abroad, and be part of the passing of the torch. The country welcomes all visitors to join the nation in this unique and touching celebration of a great life.”

The King’s body is expected to arrive in Tonga on Monday 26th March with the date of the burial yet to be confirmed. The tourism industry, including accommodation, transport, tours, restaurants and bars will remain largely unaffected during this time.

The coming months offer a completely unique cultural experience to those planning to visit Tonga, the only remaining Kingdom in the South Pacific, says Fifita.

“Visitors will see a special moment in Tonga’s history that very few will ever witness. In mourning for the King, all people will dress in black and will wear Tonga’s traditional ta’ovala woven mat. Tonga’s buildings will also be dressed in black and purple material to show the nation’s respect for the King.”

For a full schedule of proceedings and memorials taking place in the Kingdom of Tonga please visit www.mic.gov.to .

Visitors to Tonga who wish to take part in services are asked to contact the Tonga Visitors Bureau for details and assistance. Those who wish to take part, particularly at the Royal Palace grounds and the Royal Tombs, are asked to bring suitable attire – long black skirts and no short sleeves for ladies, long pants, suit and tie for men.

- ends –

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