Tonga Bans Tourism on Sundays

The text below is from a letter sent out by the police in Vava’u on 9 August 2011. I’ve re-typed it word for word, including reproducing the punctuation, spacing and typos in order to avoid the risk of misrepresenting anything.

I’ll refrain from comment on the text, as I’m sure the intent is clear. For anyone who’s already booked a trip to Tonga or planning to come here, please factor this into your planning. I have no additional information or insight besides the text below.


I respectfully would like to inform you regarding the subject mentioned above.

In the Constitution of Tonga Section 6 Chapter 2 VoL 1 it states , “ SABBATH DAY TO BE KEPT HOLY “. And in the Law of Order in Public Places section 6 (1)(e) chapter 37 1988 Vol 1 it states , “ a person who , on the Sabbath Day , either personally or through others engaged or procured by him :

(a) practices his trade or profession or conducts any undertaking of a commercial nature

© is engaged in any game , sport , dancing or fishing whether organized or not.

A person who commits such an offence is liable to a fine or imprisonment or both.

According to my duty as Police Commander to the District of Vava’u , one of my responsibilities is to observe the people who reside in this district whether they practice the Law of the Kingdom of Tonga or not.

The subject mentioned above is one of the laws that has been extremely violated a lot , especially by business such as whale watching , scuba diving , kyack ,fishing , Yacht Charters Tour Operator . Noticed that you have chosen Vava’u as the place to operate your business and collect money for you , Therefore , it is required that you respect the Law of the country. The Ministry of Police has surveillance the violation of the Law of SABBATH and has proven to be true , and this violation has been practiced for quite a long time.

It is your duty to your customers to inform them , when they make their booking , to make known to them the Law of SABBATH DAY in Tonga in which the term “ SABBATH DAY “ shall mean the period from 12 midnight on any Saturday to 12 midnight on the following Sunday.

I would like to notify you if you hold any documents which allows you to conduct these illegal practices on Sabbath Day , even if from whoever authority in the Kingdom , you are required to show me the copies of these documents.

The Police Officer shall now continue their duties to those who continue to disrespect and violate the Law of Tonga , and shall be taken to Court.

I do believe we will still continue working together with the Vava’u Ministry of Police for a better benefit for our district.

Respectfully Yours ,

Det IP T Falakiseni -
Vava’u District Commander

Cc Deputy Police Commissioner
Ministry of Labour & Commerce - Vava’u
Ministry of Tourism - Vava’u
APC U Fa’aoa