Tonga is emerging as a destination for corporate retreats and small group incentives. While the Pacific Kingdom lacks high end luxury accommodation for larger groups, it does have business friendly hotels like the Scenic Hotel Tonga and Tanoa International Dateline, plus smaller boutique properties.
It also has whales and is one of the rare places delegates can swim with the massive creatures.
Scenic Hotels and Air New Zealand, working with other accommodation providers and suppliers, hosted a group of wholesale travel agents to Tonga late last week.
Steve Shearer, of Scenic Hotels, says one big reason for the famil was to show agents how much could be done on Tongatapu, without the expense of flying on to outer islands. Whale watching (along with culture and natural land sites) is one of the ‘easy to dos’ from the main island, he says.
The group got close to a female and calf, then a group of three and two playful large adults – one that raised its head close to the boat and had a look around. Later in the afternoon there was some spectacular breaching.
The group was hosted on and in the water by Whaleswim, Fish and Dive Tours, which has been operating for five years.