Festivities Continue In Tonga Celebrating King’s Coronation

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Crowning of King Tupou VI likely to bring record number of visitors

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 3, 2015) – Festivities continue in Tonga in the build up to tomorrow's coronation of King Tupou VI.

The 11 day celebration culminate in the King's formal crowning at the Royal Palace Grounds in the capital, Nuku'alofa.

Thousands of people are in Tonga for the coronation and local tourist operators say visitors to Tonga for this year's coronation have topped numbers from the coronation of the late King George Tupou V.

The crowning of the last King in 2008 brought an estimated 5,000 visitors to the country but local tourist operators believe the number of visitors this year has exceeded that by far.

Kolotita Lolesio from the Friends Cafe says the high number of visitors is good for the economy, and her business has experienced a 90% increase in sales this week.

"It's very busy. The last coronation - this one is much busier than that last one. Much more, like double or triple."

Over the past few weeks, every village, church and school in Tonga have been presenting their hala, a traditional gift offering of food, mats and money, to the Royal family.

While some locals have said the efforts they have put into King Tupou VI's coronation celebrations are greater than preparations made for the last one, total costs have only amounted to about an eighth of the last coronation's $5 million USD budget.

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