|dc.description.abstract||Tourism has become one of the fastest growing industries in recent years and has been recognised as the key sector that lifts the economies of an island destination. This is also applied to the South Pacific Islands including Tonga. Tourism provides opportunities for employment, foreign exchange and better infrastructure for the country. The South Pacific Islands are perceived by most of international visitors as paradise, peaceful places, timeless and romantic destinations for couples. The Kingdom of Tonga itself, sells and is positioned in the typical island images and its unique attributes that differentiates from other islands such as whale watching/ swimming and the only remaining Kingdom in the South Pacific.
Littering and waste management issues are common problems in any developing countries and the Pacific Islands, due to lack of resources, infrastructure and the local attitudes. According to the International Visitors Survey (IVS) (2012, 2013), the majority of the visitors’ negative comments on their holiday were based on littering. In this respect, this study investigates images that visitors’ have upon arrival and before departure, how they perceived littering in Tonga and whether littering has a negative influence on visitors’ future behaviour, such as willingness to recommend to friends and families and revisiting. No research had looked at the impact of littering on South Pacific Island/ Tonga’s image or any other developing country. This makes the findings of this research relevant for the academic literature and for Tonga’s tourism industry.
This study adopts a qualitative approach involves in-depth interviews and open ended questions. Two types of participants in this research: 1) twelve visitors 2) four operators and were chosen through the use of convenient sample.
This research finds that although Tonga has a problem with littering, all visitors are still willing to recommend Tonga to friends and family. Six of them have positive intentions to revisit while the other six, mostly from Europe does not intent to revisit Tonga due to cost and distance constraints. The results indicated that visitors’ images before departing from Tonga were more holistic than their pre-visit images.||