Marine Atlas: Maximizing Benefits for Fiji
BEYOND THE BEACH: MARINE TOURISM
Fiji’s diverse and growing marine tourism sector is worth billions to the economy. It requires careful management if it is to complement rather than endanger the very ecosystems it relies on.
Most tourism facilities are found on Viti Levu, particularly along the Coral Coast, an 80-kilometre stretch between the capital Suva and Nadi—the main tourist town (see bar chart). The Coral Coast is named for the extensive fringing coral reef found along this coastline. There are also numerous hotels in and around Nadi and on the islands to the west and north. A smaller number of tourist fa- cilities are found on Vanua Levu, Kadavu, Ovalau, Rotuma and Taveuni. Marine tourism is therefore an important sector for Fiji’s economy, accounting for a total gross value of FJ$1.15 billion (US$574 million) per year and 41,500 jobs in 2014 (12.3 per cent of total jobs). Shark tourism alone was worth FJ$86 million per year, coral reefs and lagoons, FJ$917 million per year and mangroves FJ$459 million per year, while yachting brought in FJ$30 million per year (see also chapter “Home, sweet home”). However, Fiji does not currently retain the full value of marine tourism and much leaks out of the coun- try as revenue expatriated to foreign hotels and tourism operators and suppliers of imported goods for resorts and hotels. Conflict between tourist activities and local fishing on traditional fishing grounds (see also chapter “Space to recover”) is another issue, particularly on Tavarua Island and in Solevu (Malolo Island) and Nabila (Viti Levu Island). Due to the fast growth of the sector, it is becom- ing increasingly challenging for Fiji to maintain the state of its natural resources on which its tourism relies. Issues include pollution, overexploitation and habitat degradation, and loss of coral reefs, mangroves and other coastal ecosystems; many of these issues are on the verge of causing irreversi- ble environmental damage. In light of this, the Tourism Development Plan 2007– 2016 strongly emphasizes the need for sustainable tourism and to address issues related to social and environmental aspects of tourism. Managers of tourism operations should therefore aim to add value to the environment, communities, entrepre- neurs and tourists on which they rely. Promoting small-scale, eco-friendly, village-based tourism can provide rural Fijians with opportunities to participate in the cash economy, while maintaining the coun- try’s valuable marine and coastal ecosystems.
S O C I A L B E N E F I T F R O M
C A R B O N S T O R A G E
FJ$ 148 M
I N S H O R E F I S H E R I E S FJ$ 113 M ARTISANAL FJ$ 54 M FJ$ 59 M SUBSISTENCE
FJ$ 20 M
Humphead parrotfish can grow to 1.3 metres and are one of the many underwater tourist attractions in Fiji.
M A R I N E T O U R I S M FJ$ 1.15 B
“Where happiness finds you” is Fiji’s tourism slogan, which attracted more than 750,000 inter- national visitors in 2015, as well as many domestic tourists. Visitors to the country are not only looking for happiness, but also the opportunity to ex- plore the marine and coastal ecosystems beyond its sandy beaches. Fiji’s coral reefs, coastlines, sparkling blue waters and shoreline mangrove forests offer beautiful views and spaces for leisure. Tourists engage in countless activities in marine ecosystems, such as diving, snorkelling, swim- ming, jet-skiing, surfing, parasailing, water skiing, stand-up paddling, game fishing, cruising and yachting (see pie chart). Visitors mainly arrive through Fiji’s two interna- tional airports at Nadi and Suva, though there are also airports on many of the smaller islands, as shown on the map. Cruise ships, ferries and yachts move tourists through Fiji’s waters, with major cruise ship ports located in Suva, Nadi and Lautoka. Popular yacht anchorages are found in the Yasawas, the Lau group and around Sa- vusavu, and there are many jetties, marinas and landings throughout Fiji’s islands. Dive boats go
S H A R K T O U R I S M FJ$ 86 M
out to countless, world-class dive sites concen- trated around the Rainbow Reef between Taveuni and Vanua Levu, the Yasawas and the Vatu-i-Ra seascape, east of Viti Levu. Some operators offer tourists the opportunity to live aboard their dive boats, allowing them to cover large areas around the main islands.
Room nights sold by region (in thousands ‘000) (2016)
Marine activities o ered by hotels
MAXIMIZING BENEFITS FOR FIJI
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