As Fijian Tourism Expo 2015 came to a very successful close, Fiji’s Minister of Tourism, Faiyaz Siddiq Koay said that the lasting impression the Fijian government and its people must leave in the minds of the international buyers, exhibitors and media is a very mindful one – which calls on each individual to regard Fiji as a precious destination.
He said that The Fijian Government earlier this year launched the Green Growth Framework for Fiji, with this living document focused on rebalancing 3 pillars of sustainable development, economic, social, and environment, adding, “In supporting the vision of ‘A better Fiji for all’ and taking into consideration the global and regional developments on green growth, this Framework is guided by 8 principles, of which the top 3 are most relevant to the tourism industry, namely:
- Reducing our carbon footprints by ensuring new developments are more environmentally friendly;
- A new integrated approach whereby all stakeholders collectively work together for the common good. The cross-cutting nature of issues relating to sustainable development requires synergy and better harmonization in the formulation of development strategies. The days of silos are over;
- Strengthening Social cultural education for environmental stewardship and civic responsibility;
He added, “Under the Environment Pillar, the Thematic Areas are Building Resilience to Climate Change and Disasters; Waste Management; and Sustainable Island and Ocean Resources.”
“Despite the fact that globally, the travel industry is perceived to have the highest carbon-footprint, it is most important to recognize the efforts of key industry partners who are taking momentous steps in trying to offset the carbon emissions from tourism-related activities through innovation.”
“Educating our visitors on the environmental issues affecting our nation begins with you, our international partners. It is humble request to you all that when selling Fiji to your clients, you make them aware that Fiji has a very delicate ecosystem and whilst they come to enjoy our beautiful country, we would like for them to also share the love and appreciation we Fijians have for our natural environment.”
“Fiji has sterling examples of industry partners who have been conscious of the fragile nature of Fiji’s natural environment and have already put environmental best practices in place to ensure its sustainability, including:
- Talanoa Treks – Walking the Sustainability Talk, multi-day hikes showcasing Fiji’s beautiful hidden interior. As a company founded on the beauty of Fiji’s tropical rainforests, pristine rivers, and dramatic peaks as well as its rich cultural heritage, environmental and cultural sustainability are part of who they are and the reason their guests trek with them.
Examples of Talanoa Treks’ approach include: Working with the communities to help identify and addresses training needs – including first aid training, guide training and business development support; Being a committed member of NatureFiji-MareqetiViti, Fiji’s only local conservation NGO; Minimising their carbon footprint; Practicing ‘leave-no-trace’ hiking, ensuring all litter is taken out and recycled wherever possible; and Incorporating into guide training conservation best practices;
- Mamanuca Environment Society – Keeping the Islands Pristine. The Mamanuca Environment Society is committed to the promotion of awareness of the need to protect the marine and terrestrial resources of the Mamanuca Region and to assist, through partnerships with local communities, tourism operators, government and non–government organizations, in the environmentally sustainable development of these resources for the benefit of present and future generations. It is the Society’s mission to better inform all stakeholders; be they MES members or surrounding communities, of the environmental issues that face our region and country as a whole. MES highlights through stakeholder communication the relevant steps and strategies needed to ensure that our mission is achieved – sustainable tourism and community livelihood through environmental awareness and protection.
The Mamanuca Environment Society has developed a working relationship with stakeholders and provides support for environment and conservation initiatives within the Mamanucas region. It has pursued its aim in assisting members and its local communities to be more considerate of the surrounding ecosystems and how livelihoods are affected if biodiversity is not protected. This has contributed to sustainable tourism in meeting the needs of today’s tourists, whilst at the same time conserve nature and enhancing opportunities for the future.
- Nukubati Island Resort – Protecting the Southern Hemisphere’s 3rd Largest Barrier Reef, Nukubati is a Fijian-owned and operated, all inclusive private island resort in the Northern part of Fiji, a natural extension of a gracious and simple style of South Pacific living. Catering for just seven couples, this eco-chic resort is the perfect Fiji getaway for your Fiji honeymoon, Fiji wedding or relaxing Fiji vacation. Nearby is Fiji’s best scuba diving on the Great Sea Reef, reputed to be the third largest barrier reef in the world which stretches for over 200km. Located in the North-Eastern coastline of Fiji, Nukubati Private Island is the only resort in the whole of the Fiji Islands with access to this vast underwater treasure. The Great Sea Reef is a marine paradise where manta rays, dolphins, turtles, whales and innumerable fish species parade around the corals. Nukubati Island Resort has been actively involved in conservation efforts to protect the Great Sea Reef through its eco-luxury resort. Examples of their conservation efforts include: Using Clean energy; Sourcing of Sustainable Seafood; Community Education.
To hear and see what the Minister and the representatives of the above organisations had to say click on the video box below:
Written by John Alwyn-Jones