Sponsored | Diving into Sustainability: Fiji | Nat Geo Traveller India

Sponsored | Diving into Sustainability: Fiji

Say ‘bula’ to travel that leaves a positive impact.  
Sponsored | Diving into Sustainability: Fiji
Photo Courtesy: Tourism Fiji

Apart from long white beaches that help you unwind and a terrain home to abundance of adventure, the sun-kissed islands of Fiji also offer you an opportunity to make the world a better place through your travels. With Fiji striving to ingrain sustainability in tourism, not only do travellers leave little carbon footprint behind but are also able to immerse themselves in these sustainability efforts.

From planting colorful corals in the country’s turquoise waters to getting a taste of Fijian culture by visiting a village – a plethora of options await you. Moreover, we assure you that Fiji’s sustainable vacations are not devoid of luxury. With high-end resorts taking the eco-friendly route, one can relax and rejuvenate in the purity of the country’s natural bounty.


A Rendezvous with Fiji’s Animal Life

For wildlife lovers, a holiday to the archipelago is their chance of getting up and close with Fijian critters. Nestled in the Coral Coast is the country’s Kula Eco Park that is an active breeding center for many critically endangered species including the Fijian crested iguana. For those who’d like to experience these animals up-close, the park’s trained personnel can assist you in holding a live iguana or even letting a snake slither up your arm. As you walk through the park, you will also discover a range of Fiji’s native birds and other tropical wildlife. To add adventure to the mix, the park has also recently inaugurated a zip-line trail for you to whoosh across the lush foliage.

Synonymous with Fijian culture and history and a vital part of the coral reefs ecosystems – the Hawksbill Turtle is declared as an endangered species by the WWF. It is estimated that only 1 in every 1,000 hatchling turtles will make it to adulthood. Unfortunately, human activities have threatened marine turtles at all life stages. However, resorts in Fiji are taking utmost care offor their care and protection. One of the first resorts in the Mamanuca Islands to employ a full-time Environmental Officer and dedicated Environment Team to run their Hawksbill Turtle Conservation Programme is the Treasure Island Resort. This family resort has been dedicated to protecting them for over forty years and conducts conservation activities regularly, also involving children in the same. On the other hand, Mantaray Island Resort with their “Take only photos. Leave only bubbles.” motto ensure a sustainable Turtle Dive for visitors.


A Sustainable Marine Ecosystem

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Photo Courtesy: Tourism Fiji

Fiji is renowned across the world for the treasures its endless ocean holds – pearls and coral reefs.

Fiji’s burgeoning pearl industry is helping with the upliftment of the vulnerable reef habitats, benefiting the local community both economically and environmentally. The ocean oysters need pristine clean water to produce high-quality pearls and the country’s locals take excellent care of their coasts. The result is the kaleidoscopic Fijian pearls thanks to the islands’ pearl oyster’s unique mantle. When shopping for these beautiful gems that are said to be some of the rarest in the world due to their incredible colour – you can choose between shades of aubergine, peacock, pistachio, chocolate, gold and black. In fact, in Savusavu on Vanua Levu, you can visit the J Hunter Pearl Farm which works with nine community-owned pearl farms in Fiji. Here you can learn about the pearl-cultivation process through guided tours wherein you can observe the oyster farm through glass-bottomed boats, and can even snorkel around the pearl farm.

Gorgeous coral reefs have been the highlight at the Yasawa Islands since thousands of years. Home to a vast collection of fascinating and striking marine creatures, snorkelling or diving here is a must for those visiting. To ensure that tourism does not harm the corals, many trusts and resorts on the island have a host of marine conservation programs.

Another activity that sets communities in Fiji apart, is their efforts for protecting the corals through coral gardening. As a part of the process, small fragments of coral are gathered from the reef and then rooted onto a metal framework. They are left to mature for approximately 6 months and then relocated onto any damaged zones of the reef. Many resorts including the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort on the Viti Levu Island have successfully undertaken conservation initiatives to foster an increase in marine life. Resorts like Mana Is and Shangri-La Fijian Resort also involve guests in their conservation activities like coral-planting, a truly novel experience.

By simply buying the gorgeous Fijian pearls and staying in one of these charming resorts that support coral planting and conservation – you are paving the path for a more sustainable future.


Cultural and Environmental Preservation

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Photo Courtesy: Tourism Fiji

From the food and festivals to the rituals and arts – you will find indigenous Fijians proudly ingrain their unique blend of cultures in every aspect of your travel.

To discover Fiji’s traditional etiquette and local architecture which tells stories of the country’s culture – you can take part in a village tour where you will come across the various unique crafts that the local communities preserve. While you are at it, take back souvenirs for family and friends in the form of delicious local Kokoda and Rourou recipes. In the evenings, one can get a taste of the island country’s culture by attending a Meke performance (a traditional song and dance to respect the spirits and history of Fiji). To dip into Fiji’s rich history, head to one of the many National Heritage Sites scattered across the islands.  The islands of Fiji have a sense of calm and tranquility; the right setting to nourish and rejuvenate your body, mind and soul through the practice of yoga.  Most yoga retreats are planned with beginners in mind and the islands of Vanua Levu and Yasawa Islands are especially popular. As you deep dive into the happy country, your visit to Fiji empowers local communities and their culture.

To top up the goodness, book your stay at one of Fiji’s many eco hotels and resorts. Luxurious and comfortable, these properties combine their love for the environment with excellent hospitality crafting a stay like no other. One of the more popular resorts actively using eco-friendly options includes the Jean Michel Cousteau Resort in Savusavu. This 5 star property is equipped with excellent amenities and has taken up various initiatives to promote sustainable tourism. From chemical-free lotions to large scale marine initiatives – the resort takes its going green motto seriously. The Colo-i-Suva Rainforest Eco Resort in Suva is another eco-friendly option.

From the corals and oysters in the sea, to the turtle hatchlings and endangered reptilian species on land, Fiji is an example of a country which practices sustainability all-round. Even apart from conservation activities, environmental consciousness and an appreciation of the natural world are ideas central to the way of life for the Fijians, as is reflected in their policies. It is hence the ideal place not just to enjoy natural beauty, but also to imbibe the values of protecting the same, for eternity.

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