Tuvalu

Environment:

Tuvalu is a group of 9 coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and Australia. The highest point is only 5 meters (16 feet) above sea level. Tuvalu is particularly concerned about climate change and rising sea levels. (In 2000, the government appealed to Australia and New Zealand to take in Tuvaluans if rising sea levels should make evacuation necessary.)

Other environmental issues include beach erosion because of the use of sand for building materials, excessive clearance of forest undergrowth for use as fuel, and damage to coral reefs from the spread of starfish. Since there are no streams or rivers and groundwater is not potable, most water needs must be met by catchment systems. (The Japanese government has built one desalination plant and plans to build one other.) Tuvalu is planning to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020.

Protected areas include 3 Conservation Areas, 2 Marine Managed Areas, and 1 Fisheries Reserve. The Funafuti Conservation Area is a marine protected area covering reef, lagoon and islets (motu) on the west of Funafuti atoll. In 2010, Tuvalu signed the non-binding “Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region” (Pacific Island Cetacean MOU), for the protection of whales and dolphins in their waters.

Atolls:

Culture:

Polynesians were encountered by Europeans in Tuvalu early in the 19th century, and by the late 19th century the islands were declared a British protectorate, together with Kiribati. Tuvalu became independent within the British Commonwealth in 1978, and was admitted to the United Nations in 2000. Since Tuvalu was founded without any military, it is listed among countries without armed forces.

In 2000, Tuvalu negotiated a contract leasing its Internet top level domain name .tv for USD 50 million in royalties over the next dozen years. In 2002, domain name income paid most of the cost of paving the streets of Funafuti and installing street lighting. (Their Internet domain is managed by Verisign until 2021.)

The Prime Minister of Tuvalu has been known to try and drum up tourism for his country on social media, such as Reddit. Timeless Tuvalu is the official tourism website of the Ministry of Communication, Transport and Tourism. There is a Tuvalu National Library and Archives located in Funafuti.

There is apparently only one true hotel in Tuvalu, Vaiaku Lagi Hotel; however, there are also a number of lodges and guesthouses available. Air Pacific flies into Funafuti International Airport from Suva, Fiji. Several times a year, ships operated by the Tuvalu Marine Department, the Nivaga II and Manu Folau, will travel between Suva and Funafuti.

References:

  • Drowning with Tourism? Stakeholder Perspectives from Tuvalu by A Huebner, 2012
  • Turning a Global Crisis into a Tourism Opportunity: the Perspective from Tuvalu by B Prideaux & KE McNamara, 2012
  • Where the Hell is Tuvalu? by P Ells, 2006
  • Will Tuvalu disappear beneath the sea? by L Allen, 2004
  • Island micro-states and tourism development: Tuvalu A case study in attitudes towards tourism by THB Sofield, 1996