Fiji

Environment:

Fiji is a group of 332 islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. The terrain is mostly mountains of volcanic origin. The highest point is Mount Tomanivi at 1,324 meters (4,344 feet), on the island of Viti Levu. Environmental issues include deforestation and soil erosion. Fiji generates about half of its electricity from hydro power, in times of good rainfall; however, Geothermal Electric Ltd has begun work on geothermal power.

The Department of Environment Fiji is the official body charged with mitigating environmental issues. There is a Green Party of Fiji, but due to technicalities created by the military dictatorship may not be accredited. The Fiji Environmental Law Association maintains a presence on Facebook. Nature Fiji – Mareqeti Viti is a local NGO, the working arm of the Fiji Nature Conservation Trust. The Mamanuca Environment Society is a local NGO in the Mamanuca islands, a popular tourist destination. Mangroves For Fiji is a holistic conservation project maintained by a local dive shop, Beqa Adventure Divers. Marine Ecology Consulting is Helen Sykes’ locally based environmental consultancy. Additionally, the IUCN Oceania Regional Office is based in the capital city, Suva.

Many Fijian NGOs, as well as international NGOs with an interest in Fiji, participate in the international Locally-Managed Marine Area Network. The Namena Marine Reserve is an example of locally-managed marine area, which leverages the traditional Polynesian concept of tapu (aka “tabu”). Although Fiji has no official biosphere reserves, the Fiji archipelago does have one of the most extensive systems of coral reefs in the world. For instance, Great Astrolabe Reef is the world’s fourth-largest barrier reef. Other reefs popular with divers include Cakaulevu Reef and Rainbow Reef.

On land, Fiji has submitted 4 natural areas to the Tentative Lists of World Heritage, including Sovi Basin, Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, Yaduataba Crested Iguana Sanctuary, and Ovalau Island. Other land based parks include Bouma National Heritage Park on the island of Taveuni, and Colo-I-Suva Forest Park on Viti Levu.

Originally a “bird park”, Kula Eco Park on Viti Levu is more like a zoo. Fiji Bird Watching is a website dedicated to birding. In addition to the critically endangered Fiji Crested Iguana, Fiji’s only endemic mammal, the forest dwelling Fijian monkey-faced bat, is also critically endangered due to loss of habitat. There is an active Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji, and WWF South Pacific is based in Fiji. Consistent with the shark-god of Fijian mythology, called Dakuwaqa, there is a Fiji Shark Conservation and Awareness Project. Fiji Shark Defenders maintain a presence on Facebook. Visitors are invited to take part in the Great Fiji Shark Count every 6 months.

Zip Fiji offers Fiji’s only zipline canopy tours. Rivers Fiji has been operating commercial rafting trips since 1997. John Gray’s SeaCanoe, Southern Sea Ventures, and Tamarillo Active Travel also offer extended seakayak touring. About three miles south of Namotu island there is a left reef pass called “Cloudbreak”, considered among the ten most challenging waves to surf in the world. The Fijian Surf Company is a Nadi based surf shop and surf tours operator. Beqa Adventure Divers specialize in diving with sharks off Viti Levu. Taveuni Dive is an operator on Taveuni island, and Ovalau Watersports operates out of historic Levuka.

IUCN members:

Culture:

Historically, Fiji has been Melanesian, with some Polynesian influence; however, during the 1800s the British imported large numbers of indentured laborers from India. Supposedly, the last person to be cannibalized in Fiji was the Methodist missionary Thomas Baker, in 1867. 96 years of British rule ended in 1970. Post-colonial Fiji has been characterized by ethnic struggle leading to military rule. The first Fijian coup d’état was in 2000, and the second Fijian coup d’état was in 2006. Since 2006, Frank Bainimarama, a former naval officer, has been the dictatorial ruler of Fiji, under the chiefly title Ratu. In 2009, the Fiji Human Rights Commission was established to oversee human rights in Fiji. It has been alleged that between the British army and United Nations peacekeeping, soldiers earn more foreign exchange for Fiji than tourism. The Fijian dollar (FJD) has been the currency of Fiji since 1969.

Today Indo-Fijians form up to a third of the population, and so Hinduism in Fiji has considerable influence. Wikipedia lists Kundan Singh Kush, Vashist Muni and Shri Krishna Sharma as Fijian Hindu missionaries. The Sri Siva Subramaniya temple is a Hindu temple in Nadi. The Bharat Sevashram Sangha of Acharya Srimat Swami Pranavanandaji Maharaj maintains an ashram in Fiji. The American guru Adi Da Samraj (aka Bubba Free John) maintained a hermitage sanctuary on the island of Naitauba until his death in 2008. There is a Heart of Yoga Ashram on Taveuni, and yoga retreats on Vanua Levu at Daku Resort, organized by Yoga in Fiji. The Fiji Yoga Cooperative maintains a presence on Facebook.

The National Trust of Fiji Islands is responsible for parks and historical sites. The Fiji Museum, located in the capital city’s botanical gardens, houses an extensive archaeological collection. The historic township of Levuka on Ovalau island has been submitted to the Tentative Lists of World Heritage. Important Fijian traditions include firewalking and the drinking of kava (Piper methysticum). Due to its proximity to the International Date Line, Fiji is one of the first places in the world to usher in the new day; therefore, New Year’s Eve has become a significant holiday in Fiji, especially for visitors.

Homestays can be an affordable way to experience Fiji, and Fijihomestays is an agency that can arrange them. In Fijian, “bure” means a traditional thatched hut, but has come to stand for any kind of bungalow. Moana’s Guest House offers traditional bures on Vanua Balavu island. Bures are also available on Great Astrolabe Reef at Matava, which bills itself as a true ecolodge. Turtle Island offers bures on a private island resort, accessible by seaplane. Nuku Resort offers bures on the island of Gau. On Vanua Levu, the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort offers bure accommodation, among other things. Moody’s Namena Fiji is yet another an environmentally friendly private island resort featuring bures accommodation. On Taveuni island, Nakia Resort & Dive underscores itself for ecotourism and adventure. Raintree Lodge is a purpose-built ecotourism lodge and backpacker resort on Viti Levu. Fiji Eco Tours organizes a variety of village ecolodge experiences. Takalana Bay Retreat is a beachfront property on Moon Reef, home to Fiji’s spinner dolphins. Laucala is a private island resort, developed by publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes, who was burried there.

In 1973, Canadian gold mining entrepreneur David Gilmour bought Wakaya Island, and has since developed the exclusive Wakaya Club & Spa there. In 1996, he founded the famous brand Fiji Water, which became controversial in 2006 when Cleveland Water Department ran tests comparing a bottle of Fiji Water to Cleveland tap water. Ironically, the tests showed Fiji Water lead in arsenic and other contaminants. Apparently, Fiji Water’s bottling plant in the Yaqara Valley of Viti Levu employs some 400 people. In the wake of the 2006 military coup, there was a struggle between Fiji Water and the new government over taxation, which has since been resolved. Fiji Water partnered with Conservation International to help preserve the Sovi Basin, Fiji’s largest rainforest. Fiji Water has also partnered with the Fiji based Rotary Pacific Water for Life Foundation to help build sustainable water infrastructure in communities across Fiji.

In terms of tourism development, the South Pacific Tourism Organization is headquartered in Suva, Fiji’s capital city. WWF South Pacific was instrumental in the Strategic Environment Assessment of Fiji’s Tourism Development Plan. In 2013, Bridge the Gap Villages Fiji launched a new responsible tourism project on Vorovoro Island. The Vinaka Fiji Yasawa Trust Foundation organizes volunteer programs in remote villages of the Yasawa Islands. Volunteer opportunities may be arranged through Tei Tei Taveuni, a local organic farming NGO, or Naitauba Organic Farm, a well developed organic farm on Naitauba Island.

Stinger Bicycles in Nadi is home to the custom built Fiji mountain bike. The well known ‘yellow boat’, the Yasawa Flyer operated by Awesome Adventures Fiji, offers island hopping passes for their daily runs out of Denarau Marina to and from the Yasawa Islands via the Mamanucas. Over and over again visitors rave about schooner cruises being the best way to see the islands. Quite a few companies offer schooner cruises, including Whales Tale Cruise, Tui Tai Expeditions, Captain Cook Cruises’ Spirit of the Pacific, South Sea Cruises’ Seaspray, and the charter yacht Wayward Wind. Not to overlook underwater craft, Nadi based South Sea Subs is building an 18 meter (60 foot) semi-submersible for submarine tours. And in the air, one can tandem skydive with Skydive Fiji, or travel by seaplane with Coral Air, Pacific Island Air, or Turtle Airways.

ICCROM members:

References:

  • Morphological changes of coastal tourism: A case study of Denarau Island, Fiji by PF Xie, V Chandra & K Gu, 2013
  • Exploring the nexus between information and communications technology, tourism and growth in Fiji by RR Kumar & R Kumar, 2012
  • Multi-destination travel patterns of backpackers in Fiji: A new golden age for intra-regional tourism in the Pacific? by J Jarvis & V Peel, 2012
  • Political Environment And Its Impact On Tourism Marketing: A Case Study Of Fiji by G Singh, 2012
  • Tourism adaptation to climate change-analysing the policy environment of Fiji by M Jiang, E Wong, LM Klint & T DeLacy, 2012
  • Tourism and poverty alleviation in Fiji: comparing the impacts of small-and large-scale tourism enterprises by R Scheyvens & M Russell, 2012
  • Tourism, land tenure and poverty alleviation in Fiji by R Scheyvens & M Russell, 2012
  • Tribal Tourism in Fiji: An Application and Extension of Smith’s 4Hs of Indigenous Tourism by S Pratt, D Gibson & A Movono, 2012
  • Indigenous and democratic decision-making: issues from community-based ecotourism in the Boumā National Heritage Park, Fiji by TA Farrelly, 2011
  • Sustainability on a plate: linking agriculture and food in the Fiji Islands tourism industry by T Berno, 2011
  • The Shark Reef Marine Reserve: a marine tourism project in Fiji involving local communities by JM Brunnschweiler, 2010
  • Fiji: IFJ calls for tourism boycott by B Hill, 2009
  • Military Now The Face of Fiji Tourism As Numbers Fall by M Kelly, 2009
  • Economic valuation – Iqoliqoli – Tourism Study Support (Fiji) by I Korovulavula, T O’Garra & P Fong, 2008
  • The role and impact of services sector on economic growth: an econometric investigation of tourism and air services in Fiji (1968-2006) by MT Qasenivalu, 2008
  • More authentic than thou: Authenticity and othering in Fiji tourism discourse by CM White, 2007
  • Problems developing tourism in Fiji Islands by D Peak, 2007
  • Tourism Fiji: A Social, Political and Environmental Case Study by D Peak, 2007
  • Fiji islands: rebuilding tourism in an insecure world by B King, T Berno & Y Mansfeld, 2006
  • Tourism Market Potential Of Small Resource-based Economies: The Case Of Fiji Islands by RD Pathak, 2006
  • The economic benefits of an ecotourism project in a regional economy: a case study of Namuamua Inland Tour, Namosi, Fiji Islands by F Tokalau, CM Hall & S Boyd, 2005
  • Tourism performance as metaphor: Enacting backpacker travel in the Fiji islands by S Doorne & I Ateljevic, 2005
  • Perceptions of ecotourism: a case study of whitewater guides in the rural highlands of Fiji by K Beeftink, 2004
  • Working With The Tourism Industry A Case Study From Fiji by D Harrison & N Campus, 2004
  • Ecotourism and village-based tourism: a policy and strategy for Fiji by D Harrison, S Sawailau & M Malani, 2003
  • Ecotourism Development in Fiji: Policy, Practice and Political Instability by KS Bricker, 2003
  • Ecotourism in Fiji by D Harrison & J Brandt, 2003
  • Indigenous responses to tourism in Fiji: What is happening? by GL Burns & D Harrison, 2003
  • Challenges and issues for tourism in the South Pacific island states: the case of the Fiji Islands by M Rao, 2002
  • Ecotourism in Fiji by M Malani, 2002
  • Tourism and civil disturbances: an evaluation of recovery strategies in Fiji 1987-2000 by B King & T Berno, 2002
  • Transforming negative publicity into positive communication: tourism recovery in the Fiji Islands by B King & T Berno, 2002
  • Understanding the linkage between biodiversity and tourism: a study of ecotourism in a coastal village in Fiji by CC Sinha & R Bushell, 2002
  • Ecotourism development in the rural highlands of Fiji by K Bricker, 2001
  • Policy in paradise: the history of incremental politics in the tourism of island-state Fiji by K Hollinshead, 2001
  • Tourism in Fiji after the coups by T Berno & B King, 2001
  • A case study investigation of the factors responsible for limiting the marketing exposure of small-scale village-based tourism schemes in Fiji by ESH Evening, 2000
  • Festival mania, tourism and nation building in Fiji: The case of the Hibiscus Festival, 1956-1970 by C Bossen, 2000
  • The socio-economic consequences of tourism in Levuka, Fiji by D Fisher, 2000
  • Talanoa and tourism, exploring the intersexions of gender and village based tourism development in Fiji: The myth of community by T Jones, 1999
  • Property rights, economic performance and the environment in Fiji: a study focusing on sugar, tourism and forestry by BC Prasad, 1998
  • Globalization and tourism: some themes from Fiji by D Harrison & M Oppermann, 1997
  • Environmental management and the Fiji tourism industry by S Weaver & B King, 1996
  • Planning for ecotourism and indigenous community development in Fiji by LM Harrison, 1996
  • Sustaining tourism under political adversity: the case of Fiji by P Burns, MV Conlin & T Baum, 1995
  • Is tourism still the plantation economy of the South Pacific: the case of Fiji by CM Hall, 1994
  • The impact of the environment on the Fiji tourism industry: a study of industry attitudes by B King & S Weaver, 1993
  • Tourism to Fiji: crumbs off a rich man’s table? by D Lockhart, 1993
  • Sustainable development: theory and applications: with a case-study of development and tourism in Fiji by WD McCallum, 1990
  • Managing crisis in tourism: a case study of Fiji by R Scott, 1988
  • Tourism and ethnic competition in a ritual form: The firewalkers of Fiji by CH Brown, 1984
  • An overview of tourism and its employment generating potential in Fiji in the 1980’s by J Cameron, 1983
  • Tourism and underdevelopment in Fiji by SG Britton, 1983
  • Tourism and economic vulnerability in small Pacific island states: the case of Fiji by SG Britton, 1980
  • Tourism in a peripheral capitalist economy: the case of Fiji by SG Britton, 1979
  • The impact of tourism on the culture of Fiji by R Rajotte, 1978
  • Tourism in Fiji: some economic and social problems by RCG Varley, 1978
  • The environmental demands of tourism in coastal Fiji by GBK Baines & JH Winslow, 1977