Fiji has one of the strongest economies in the Pacific Ocean region, thanks largely to its tourism sector that promotes the island’s natural beauty and precious coral reefs.
Sandy beaches, coral reefs, tropical forests and a warm sunny climate are some of the features that makes Fiji one of the most popular destinations among travellers from Australia and New Zealand, as well as couples on their honeymoon.
However, the good numbers of eco-resorts and organisations offering tours and activities that respect the environment and the locals have made the country become a hot destination for green travellers as well.
For instance, on Taveuni Island, eco-resort Nakia welcomes its visitors with a wide range of adventurous activities, while offering accommodation in a renewables-powered structure and promoting organic food.
Another tour operator, Tui Tai, offers a holiday package that commits “to Fiji ecotourism, fostering partnership and development with indigenous groups” and encourages voluntourism.
In the early 1990s, the government decided to boost ecotourism to enable people discovering the islands’ beauty. It recognised that this type of tourism would have offered “particular opportunities for indigenous Fijians to become involved in the tourist industry”.
According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, “The government of Fiji recognises that ecotourism has the potential not only to provide quality employment, income, and business opportunities for local people, but also to act as a catalyst for the preservation of the natural environment and indigenous culture.”
However, the organisation has also warned of the possible negative effects that tourism has on the islands, as building structures and welcoming visitors can damage the environment and local traditions.
Photo: Ben ‘Jimmy’ Angel via flickr