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Tonga

  • Capital Nuku´alofa (21°8´S 175°12´W)
  • International airport(s) Fua´amotu International Airport, Fua´amotu
  • Official language(s) Tongan, English
  • Currency Pa´anga (TOP)
  • Time UTC +13
  • Region Pacific
GeographyClimateEconomyCulture
Tonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. It is located south of Samoa and about two‐thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. Only about 40 of Tonga's some 170 islands are inhabited. Geologically, the Tongan islands are of two types: most have a limestone base formed from uplifted coral formations, whereas others consist of limestone overlaying a volcanic base. Tonga's high volcanic and low coral forms give the islands a unique character. Some volcanoes are still active, for instance, Falcon Island is a submerged volcano that erupts periodically, its lava and ash rising above sea level forming a visible island which disappears when the eruption is over.
Tonga's climate is tropical, but slightly cooler than in most tropical areas. Average monthly temperatures range from 23 to 27 °C. The warm season lasts from December to April with highs above 32 °C. During the cooler months, temperatures rarely rise above 27 °C. The tropical cyclone season mostly coincides with the warm and rainy season from November to April. Average annual rainfall is below 1 700 mm, with February and March the wettest months. -—
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Tonga is second on the list of countries most at risk according to the United Nations University -—
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World Risk Index.
All land is owned by the Tongan monarchy, but some plots have been divided among the country's nobles. Tonga has a large non‐monetary sector and is heavily dependent on remittances sent by the country's population living and working abroad. Remittances accounted for almost 35 per cent of GDP in 2019 -—
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. The country attracted 94 thousand tourist arrivals in 2019 with an inbound tourism expenditure of 10 per cent over GDP -—
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. Manufacturing consists of handicrafts and a few other very small‐scale industries. Agriculture, forestry and fishery provides 24 per cent of employment -—
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and almost the same share of GDP -—
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. Agricultural products include bananas, coconuts, coffee beans, vanilla beans and root crops such as cassava, sweet potato and taro. The main export destinations include New Zealand, the United States of America and China.
Religion is an important aspect of Tongan society, and most Tongan families are members of a Christian church. Tongan ritual surrounding the drinking of kava, a mildly narcotic drink, has survived despite western influence. Traditional dancing is an important part of ceremonies and parties. In the popular paddle dance, called me'etu'upaki, dancers carry paddle‐shaped boards painted or carved with likenesses of the human body.

Tongans quite literally live from the land. They are highly self‐reliant and eat many locally grown and hand‐picked fruits, such as breadfruits, coconuts, bananas, mandarins, papayas, lemons, passion fruits and guavas. Lemon leaves are also used for tea. Vegetables such as taro, cassava, kumara and yam are diet staples. Tongans also depend on the ocean, which provides fish, octopus, clams, shellfish and sea cucumbers. Fresh coconut milk is often used in cooking.

Rugby is the national sport in Tonga. Sumo wrestling is also very popular. Tongan athletes have competed at both Summer and Winter Olympics.
Land areakm2
Arable land%
Forest area%
Coastline
lengthkm
Exclusive economic zonekm2
Nearest
neighbourkm
Economic trendsMaritime transportPopulationInternational tradeEnvironmentInformation and communications technology
Gross domestic product
US dollars at constant prices (2015) in millions
GDP per capita

2019

US$

Productive Capacity Index

2018

Economic and environmental vulnerability index

2019

Consumer Price Index growth

2019

%

Unemployment
rate

Total %
Female %, Male %
Main economic sectors, 2019
Percentage of GDP
Tourist arrivals
Thousands of tourists, percentage of GDP
External financial resources
Percentage of GDP
Public debt as % of GDP

2018

%

Fleet size
Number of ships
Ship type20112019
Total fleet1 4071 407
Oil tankers264266
Bulk carriers311333
General cargo16177
Container ships5249
Other types of ships619682
Port performance
Ranked by 2019 data within SIDS group
Indicators2019SIDS Ranking
Number of port calls44422
Median time in port (days)031
Average age of vessels1232
Average size (GT) of vessels7 22729
Container port throuput

2019

TEU

Bilateral connectivity index, 2019
Top 5 partners
Liner shipping connectivity index
Maximum China Q1 2006=100
Total population
Thousands of people, share of urban population
Population development indicators
IndicatorsPeriodValue
Poverty headcount (% of population)20151
Human development index20180.7
Human assets index202097
Adult literacy rate (15+ years, both sexes %)....
Gender inequality index20190.4
Life expectancy at birth

years

Population density

2019

persons per km2
Dependency
ratio

2019

Child:
Old-age:
Age structure by gender, 2019
Percentage of total population
Merchandise and services trade
US dollars in millions
Indicators20052010201520192019 (% of GDP)
Merchandise exports10818203.9
Merchandise imports12115920923846.8
Services exports2535728817.3
Services imports4148819919.5
Trade openness
Goods and services

% of GDP

Export concentration index

2019

Food import
dependency
Average 2015-2019

Top 5 partners in merchandise trade, 2019
Exports in millions US dollars
Merchandise exports by product group, 2019
Services exports by category, 2019
CO2 emissions per capita
Kg per capita
CO2 emissions per GDP
Kg per 2010 US$ of GDP
Renewable energy share in total energy consumption, 2017
Percentage of total energy consumption
Material
footprint
per capita

2016

kg

Terrestrial
protected
area

2018

%

Marine
protected
area

2018

%

Disasters indicators
Data not available
Trade in ICT goods

Exports: %
Imports: %
Trade in ICT services

Exports: %
Imports: %
Share of
internet users

%

Fixed broadband vs Mobile broadband subscriptions
Number of subscriptions per 100 people
Sources
Source of data: -—
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except indicators listed below.
References
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