Location: Tapu • Cost: $3150 • Age: 16-19 • Airport: LAX

Video Creator: Abigail Schultz


OVERVIEW

Tonga, officially named The Kingdom of Tonga is a Polynesian sovereign state and archipelago nation comprising 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. The state has a population of 100,651 people, of whom 70% reside on the main island of Tongatapu. Tongans affectionately nicknamed Tonga the "Friendly Island Kingdom of Tonga” originally coined by Captain Cook. Embrace a culture that will make you feel welcomed and loved like you are a part of the family. 


COUNTRY CHALLENGES

Tonga currently has a poverty rate of 22.1%, meaning that roughly one out of every 5 Tongans lives below the poverty line. Approximately 77% of the population lives in rural areas and lack of access to adequate infrastructure, electricity, and healthcare remain barriers for development in Tonga. Currently, about 3% of the population lacks access to electricity and 16 out of every 1,000 babies born in Tonga will die before their 5th birthday.

Susceptibility to natural disaster also remains a barrier for development in Tonga. On February 11, 2018, Tropical Cyclone Gita ravaged the islands of Tonga. Winds of more than 230 km fell upon the island and flattened the parliament building and tangled powerlines, leaving thousands without electricity for weeks. Water sources were contaminated, and countless homes were destroyed or damaged. Natural disasters like Tropical Cyclone Gita continue to create difficulty for the Tongan Government, infrastructure, and Tongan agriculture. 


SIGHTSEEING

Your first weekend in Tonga, you will find yourself bathing in the sun on the beautiful sandy beaches of the mystical islands of Tonga. You will lodge on a small private island, Sam’s Island, which was gifted by the Princess of Tonga to host HEFY for each weekend during the summer. Activities on the island include volleyball, beach games, and snorkeling on the tropical reefs surrounding these ancient islands. The adventure will continue off of Sam’s Island as you tour the island of Tongatapu. Tongatapu is famous for its sites like Tsunami Rock, many natural land blowholes, and the renowned cave of ‘Anahulu. 

 


TEMPLE

You will visit the Nukualofa, Tonga Temple, the Church’s 23rd operating temple! Dedicated in 1983 by President Gordon B. Hinckley this temple has long served many of the island nations located in the South Pacific.

 

 

  


TONGA FACTS

Tonga, affectionately called the "Friendly Islands," consists of 171 islands, 36 of which are inhabited.

Tonga is the only South Pacific country to never have been colonized by a foreign power; in fact, this island nation has handed the kingship down through many generations, beginning in the 10th century.

Tonga has rich cultural practices that reflect the history of their families and people. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints first came to Tonga in 1891 and now has more than 60,000 members on the island. 

The beautiful island is made from coral and limestone- volcanic build up. Snorkeling and scuba diving are a must when visiting this lovely island nation.

Tonga has a small, open, South Pacific island economy that relies heavily on agriculture. However, tourism and light industry have become increasingly important in recent years. The country must import a high proportion of its food, and Tonga relies heavily on external aid and remittances--money earned by a foreign worker but sent back home. 

 

*Note: All info subject to final adjustment

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