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The Republic of the Fiji Islands

Area: 18,333 sq km (11 385 sq mi)
Population: 846,000 (2006 est.)
Capital City: Suva
Main Ethnic Groups: Fijian, Indian, European, other Pacific Islanders and Chinese
Languages: English (official), Numerous Fijian dialects, Gujarati and Fijian Hindi
Main Religions: Christian, Hindu and Muslim
Currency: Fijian dollar (FJD)

Fiji lies in the heart of the Pacific Ocean midway between the Equator and New Zealand. Fiji comprises approximately 330 islands, of which about one-third are inhabited. The country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers about 1.3m square kilometres of the South Pacific Ocean. The two main islands, accounting for 87% of the total landmass, are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

83% of all land in Fiji is owned by indigenous Fijians. Only 16% of the landmass is suitable for agriculture. This is found mainly along the coastal plains, river deltas, and valleys. Apart from the capital Suva, Lautoka is the only other major city and both are located on the island of Viti Levu. Of the total population of 846,000 (2006 est.), 54.8% are Indigenous Fijians, 37.3% are Indian. Fijian ("Indo-Fijian") and 7.9% are of other races.

Fiji enjoys a tropical South Sea maritime climate without great extremes of heat or cold. The islands lie in area that is occasionally traversed by tropical cyclones, which occur between the months of November to April. The temperature averages 28 degrees Celsius for the cooler months (May to October) while from November to April temperatures are 2-4 degrees higher with heavy downpours. Fiji's flora and fauna are relatively few in number but are of exceptional scientific interest because of the higher proportion of endemic forms.

Fiji is currently ruled under an Interim Government established under the action of a December 2006 military coup. A roadmap to democracy has been announced. Full details are later covered in this Report.

Fiji is an active member of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). The PIF Secretariat is based in Suva, as are most of the specialist regional organisations, and regional offices of many international organisations (UNDP, ILO, ICRC, etc). Fiji has close relations with Australia and New Zealand, which are its principal export markets and main source of tourist revenues.

As a result of the 2006 coup, these political relationships are strained as Australia and New Zealand apply pressure on the Interim Government of Fiji to return to a democratically elected government.

Fiji receives development assistance from New Zealand, Australia and the European Union.

According to Fijian legend, the great chief Lutunasobasoba led his people across the seas to the new land of Fiji. Most authorities agree that people came into the Pacific from Southeast Asia via the Malay Peninsula. Here the Melanesians and the Polynesians mixed to create a highly developed society long before the arrival of the Europeans.

The European discoveries of the Fiji group were accidental. The first of these discoveries was made in 1643 by the Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman and English navigators, including Captain James Cook who sailed through in 1774, and made further explorations in the 18th century.

Major credit for the discovery and recording of the islands went to Captain William Bligh of Great Britain who sailed through Fiji after the mutiny on the Bounty in 1789. The first Europeans to land and live among the Fijians were shipwrecked sailors and runaway convicts from the Australian penal settlements. Sandalwood traders and missionaries came by the mid 19th century.

Cannibalism practiced in Fiji at that time quickly disappeared as missionaries gained influence. When Ratu Seru Cakobau accepted Christianity in 1854, the rest of the country soon followed and tribal warfare came to an end.

From 1879 to 1916 Indians came as indentured labourers to work on the sugar plantations. After the indentured system was abolished, many stayed on as independent farmers and businessmen. Today they comprise 43.6 per cent of the population.

Fiji was first settled about three and a half thousand years ago. The original inhabitants are now called "Lapita people" after a distinctive type of fine pottery they produced, remnants of which have been found in practically all the islands of the Pacific, east of New Guinea, though not in eastern Polynesia. Linguistic evidence suggests that they came from northern or central Vanuatu, or possibly the eastern Solomons.

Before long they had moved further on, colonizing Rotuma to the north, and Tonga and Samoa to the east. From there, vast distances were crossed to complete the settlement of the Pacific to Hawaii in the north, Rapanui (Easter Island) in the east and Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the south.

Unlike the islands of Polynesia which showed a continuous steadily evolving culture from initial occupation, Fiji appears to have undergone at least two periods of rapid culture change in prehistoric times. This may have been due to the arrival of fresh waves of immigrants, presumably from the west. Prehistorians have noted that a massive 12th century volcanic eruption in southern Vanuatu coincides with the disappearance there of a certain pottery style, and its sudden emergence in Fiji.

It is hardly surprising then, that the Fijian culture is an intricate network and that generalisations are fraught with danger. Although the legendary king of Bau, Naulivou, and his successors had control over a large area of eastern Fiji, at no time before colonialisation was Fiji a political unity. Nevertheless, Fiji does exhibit certain traits that sets it apart from its neighbours, and it is this that defines a distinctive Fijian culture.

Fijians first impressed themselves on European consciousness through the writings of the members of the expeditions of Cook who met them in Tonga. They were described as formidable warriors and ferocious cannibals, builders of the finest vessels in the Pacific, but not great sailors.

They inspired awe among the Tongans, and all their manufactures, especially bark-cloth and clubs, were highly esteemed and much in demand. They called their home Viti, but the Tongans called it Fisi, and it is by this foreign pronunciation, Fiji, first promulgated by Cook, that these islands are now known.

After the explorers, other Europeans followed. For over half a century, Fijian culture enjoyed what has been called its ‘golden age’, as tools and weapons brought by traders were turned by resourceful chiefs to their own advantage. Canoes and houses were built, confederations formed and wars fought on a grand scale without precedent. Gradually and inevitably, however, the Fijian way of life was changing. As Christianity spread in the islands, wars ceased abruptly and western clothing was adopted.

After Fiji was ceded to Great Britain in 1874, epidemics nearly wiped out the population and it seemed as if the natives were doomed. But the colonial government took the Fijians side. Land sales were forbidden, health campaigns implemented and the population picked up again. Theirs was not, of course, the culture of the heathen ‘golden age’, but one modified by the new religion and increasingly the new economic order. Yet in today’s Fiji, independent since 1970, a surprising amount has survived.

The 20th century brought about important economic changes in Fiji as well as the maturation of its political system. Fiji developed a major sugar industry and established productive copra milling, tourism and secondary industries.

As the country now diversifies into small-scale industries, the economy is strengthened and revenues provide for expanded public works, infrastructure, health, medical services and education.

The country’s central position in the region has been strengthened by recent developments in sea and air communications and transport. Today, Fiji plays a major role in regional affairs and is recognized as the focal point of the South Pacific.

Fiji is now home to many other races — Indians, Part Europeans, Chinese and other Pacific islanders living in harmony, and keeping their own cultures and identity. Fijians, slightly over 50 per cent of the total population, are essentially members of communities. They live in villages and do things on a communal basis.

The Indians have also regarded Fiji as their home. Most of them are descendants of labourers brought to the country from India to work in the sugar plantations about 100 years ago under the indentured labour system. Although they were offered passages back in to India after their term, most preferred to stay. And through the years they have continued to work the land, becoming prominent in agriculture and also commerce. There has been some intermarriage, but this has been minimal However, Indians living in the rural areas have adapted well, some even speaking the local dialect and mixing well with the Fijians. As a country, Fiji is rural based with about 60 per cent of the population living in the rural areas.

A multi-racial, multi-cultural nation, Fiji is represented by all the major religions of the world. This is quickly obvious to the visitor who will see Christian churches, Mosques, Sikh and Hindu temples in towns and the countryside. More than half of Fiji’s population are Christians (52.9%), Hindus (38.1%), Muslim (7.8%), Sikhs (0.7%), Others (0.5%).

Race relations in Fiji are generally harmonious. The Compact provision in the Constitution requires that full account are to be taken of the interests of all communities. It is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of colour, race or ethnic origins and it is an offence to incite racial disharmony.

English is the lingua franca, but Fijian and Hindi are also taught in schools as part of the school curriculum. Indigenous Fijians have their own dialects and you can tell where one comes from, from their dialect. Indians too have their own, and generally speak a distinctive Fiji-Hindi dialect. This is not the same as the one spoken in India.


The Fijian Premium Market for Hotels and Resorts

Fiji comprises more than 300 islands of which only approximately 100 are inhabited whilst the remainder are typical nature reserves. Approximately 80% of the population live on the two largest islands (also referred to as the mainland), Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

Fiji’s property and tourism markets are strong, driven by Fiji’s key assets – natural beauty, a warm tropical climate, unspoilt beaches, islands and seas, as well as engaging and friendly people. In addition, Fiji enjoys high capacity airline services to a large international airport at Nadi.

The tourism industry in Fiji has proven itself to be very resilient in recent years. It is the most popular tourist destination in the Pacific and from a country perspective is active in promoting itself. It is considered safe and has an appealing and largely unspoilt environment. Market analysis predicts considerable growth in the Fiji tourism market over the next five to ten years particularly with off shore resorts where statistics show there is a strong demand for new facilities. From an economic standpoint the tourism sector is the single largest earner of gross revenues for Fiji. As a consequence the Government fully supports the need for more accommodation and infrastructure to meet tourism growth demands.

With waterfront real estate becoming a rare and expensive commodity in many parts of the globe, the affordability and availability of land in Fiji is attracting worldwide attention. The lure for foreign investors is strong, with waterfront properties in Fiji often selling at price levels considered affordable in international terms. Property development has largely been confined to the development of tourism assets (principally large hotel operators, small luxury lodges or back-packer resorts) and more recently the intensive hotel and subdivision developments at Denarau Island. Denarau Island has proved to be the focal point of Fiji’s property development over the last six years, following a series of development initiatives from 1995 to 2000.

The demand for property at Denarau Island and the nearby development of Momi Bay (also on the mainland of Fiji) has been exceptional. These are very large, intensive developments, with limited natural appeal and without the Pacific Ocean access and white beaches which Fiji in the minds of tourists. Despite these drawbacks, Denarau Island has been a major driver in Fiji’s tourism industry over the last 10 years and has enjoyed substantial price increases. The Denarau Island development is not dissimilar to many projects on the Gold Coast of Queensland Australia and other intensively developed hotel and housing developments in many parts of Asia.

In the same way that purchasers of waterfront properties around the world have sought increasing exclusivity, waterfront property has become either overdeveloped or over priced. PIP anticipates that demand for exclusive island properties with high quality infrastructure will continue to grow. The following two current market trends have become increasingly apparent:

1. Growing demand in the international tourism market for large, high quality accommodation in
    attractive locations.
2. Emerging demand in Fiji for real estate and investment options on a more exclusive basis than the
    likes of Denarau Island and on more attractive island locations with the features for which Fiji is
    internationally known.

In February 2006, Fiji launched a substantial marketing campaign in Australia to promote tourism. Despite any recent political instability, Fiji is still a thriving opportunity for investors. Prior to the December 2006 coup, visitor statistics were in excess of 500,000 with growth projections for international arrivals of 7% suggesting that, if political and ethnic tensions can be managed, Fiji’s tourism industry will continue to grow, supporting the economic development of the nation and providing opportunities for local and offshore investors. This level of growth would see arrivals climb to 700,000 by 2010. The down-stream impact of such high growth is the pressure it will place on Fiji for further hotels and resorts, estimated at around 6,000 additional rooms.

Fiji has for a long time provided a range of incentive schemes to encourage tourism investment. Albeit controversial, the Interim Government of Fiji has taken the first step towards the necessary reforms and shown an appetite to support this tourism investment with a mandate to ensure economic recovery and growth.

Whilst this report does not categorically indicate a Risk Free Fiji it neither indicates High Risk. Travellers and businessmen alike have continued to have free access in and out of the country and businesses operating in Fiji continue to operate unencumbered.

It would appear that despite international pressures, the Interim Government of Fiji are committed to their “Road Map” to democratic elections in 2009. Meanwhile, historical statistics suggest that Fiji will not see a slow recovery; tourism numbers will continue to rise well beyond that of pre 2006 coup.

Political Background

On independence in 1970, Fiji adopted a constitutional democratic form of government, based on the Westminster model. Fiji has a bicameral parliament consisting of a nominated Senate and an elected House of Representatives, and a Cabinet presided over by a Prime Minister.

Indigenous Fijian concerns are taken account of through the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Great Council of Chiefs). This is the highest assembly of traditional chiefs of Fiji and meets at least once a year to discuss matters of concern to the Fijian people. The Council appoints the President of Fiji - a power embodied in the 1997 constitution.

In 1987 the democratic rule of Fiji was interrupted by a military coup led by then Lieutenant Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka. A four month period of interim rule by the Governor General ended with a second coup by Rabuka on 25 September 1987. Rabuka abrogated the 1970 Constitution and declared Fiji a republic. A short period of military government, and two subsequent interim administrations followed and a new constitution was promulgated on 25 July 1990 with elections held in May 1992. Fiji suffered another period of political, social and economic instability beginning on 19 May 2000, when a group led by George Speight seized control of the Parliament and took hostage then Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and members of his government, holding them for 56 days. The hostage-taking was followed by the purported abrogation of the 1997 Constitution; the departure of then President Mara and the installation of three successive unelected interim administrations. Rulings by the Fiji High Court and Court of Appeal that the 1997 Constitution remained the supreme law of the land led to the general elections of 25 August -1 September 2001 and Fiji's subsequent return to parliamentary democracy under the Prime Ministership of Laisenia Qarase, who had led the caretaker and interim governments.

The general elections of 2001 were won by the United Fiji Party, headed by interim Prime Minister Qarase. Following these elections, and in accordance with a Constitutional provision for multi-party representation in Cabinet, Prime Minister Qarase invited members of the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) to join Cabinet. Qarase refused however, to include FLP leader Chaudhry in the Cabinet lineup. In November 2004, the FLP announced that they were no longer interested in participating in the Qarase-led government.

Prime Minister Qarase’s SDL Government was returned to office with a narrow majority at the elections held in May 2006. A multi-Party Cabinet, including members of the FLP, was then formed. Prime Minister Qarase, FLP Leader Chaudhry and Opposition Leader Beddoes extended an end of September deadline to agree on rules for the operation of the multi-party Cabinet, but had not reached agreement by 5 December 2006. In recent years, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Commander of the Fijian Military Forces, has been increasingly critical of the elected Government of Fiji and, on a number of occasions during 2005 and 2006, Bainimarama threatened to remove the Government.

On 5 December, Bainimarama announced that he had assumed executive power, that he had dismissed the Qarase Government and declared a state of emergency.

Bainimarama has taken power twice in Fiji's history, the first time as Head of the Interim Military Government of Fiji from 29 May to 13 July 2000, after organizing a counter-coup to neutralize the earlier putsch led by George Speight. He handed power over to the newly-appointed President Ratu Josefa Iloilo. He was instrumental in the rise to power of the government of the Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, but his intense criticism of the government's policy of showing leniency towards persons implicated in the coup later strained his relations with the regime, and on 5 December 2006, he overthrew the Qarase government and announced that he had "reluctantly" assumed the powers of the presidency.

Bainimarama restored Ratu Josefa Iloilo to the Presidency on 4 January 2007, and was formally appointed Interim Prime Minister by Iloilo the next day. On 8 January, Bainimarama appointed an “interim government”.

In October 2007, Bainimarama announced at a World Leaders convention in Tonga that the ‘Road Map” to democratic elections has been laid, scheduled to be held in 2009.


One of the Government’s key objectives is to attract much needed private sector investment into the country. The Fiji islands offer private investors an attractive and generous package of incentives and concessions for their investment contribution and enterprise activities to raise the level of foreign investment in Fiji.

In particular, Fiji offers very attractive tax incentives and concession packages on investments in specific economic sectors with a high potential for expansion and development, which includes tourism-related activities.


The Hotel Aid Act’s Short Life Investment Package (S.L.I.P) which will remain effective until 31 December 2008 is applicable to up market hotels and resorts. Concessions available under the SLIP package are as follows:

• Carry forward losses of up to 8 years
• Duty free import of all capital equipment, machinery and plant for initial development, but excluding
   motor vehicles and furniture
• No corporate tax on profits for 20 years for capital investments exceeding F$40 million
• No corporate tax on profits for 10 years for capital investments exceeding F$10 million but less than F$40 million
• A claim of special depreciation allowance in each of fifteen years immediately succeeding the year of income
   in which capital expenditure has been incurred in the project, excluding land

As an additional inducement, Fiji has negotiated double taxation agreements with the United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea under which exemptions or tax concessions granted by the Fiji government are not negated by an imposition of tax in the country of residence of the investor. The contracting State(s) under the agreement would deem that tax has been paid and accordingly grant relief to the investor in respect of income flowing to him.

Commercial hotel and resort operations qualify for these benefits. This means profits paid to investors do not incur any tax for a number of years. Further, accelerated depreciation can be claimed for hotels and resorts.

NOTE: PIP is aware of instances where developers have encountered difficulties in dealing with taxation issues surrounding developments in Fiji. This has arisen when developers have neglected to apply for tax relief under the SLIP program prior to commencement of the development project.

Fiji is considered a popular tourist destination and from a country perspective is active in promoting itself as a country. It is considered safe and has an appealing and largely unspoilt environment. It is also a maturing tourism destination with reasonable infrastructure in place and plans for a large number of new hotels or developments. We believe that there will be considerable growth in the Fiji tourism market over the next five to ten years particularly with offshore resorts where statistics show there is strong demand for new facilities.

More specifically there is a distinct lack of up market island resorts that provide accommodation in the range of 50-150 rooms. We see an excellent opportunity to fill this gap in the market. The competition at present is from the mainland and comprising of the likes of the Sheraton, Westin Resort, Sofitel, Hilton and a number of hotels that are proposed or under construction such as the 250 room Marriott at Momi Bay and the 283+ room Intercontinental Hotel at Natadola (all being in the upper to mid-market). There are also a number of other resorts along the Coral Coast with the majority of these falling into the mid market segment.

We believe that proposed resorts on our subject islands should be placed within the upper-to mid-market and the luxury market. The luxury market consists of a number of exclusive resorts that largely consist of operations that have less then 25 beds per resort. There are no up market resorts that have between 50 and 150 rooms and as such, have targeted this market segments.

Economic Review

Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, is one of the most developed of the Pacific island economies, though still with a large subsistence sector. Sugar exports, remittances from Fijians working abroad, and a growing tourist industry - with 500,000 to 600,000 tourists annually - are the major sources of foreign exchange.

Economic growth for 2005 was estimated at 1.7 percent driven by the strong performance of the wholesale & retail trade, and hotels and restaurants sector. Developments in these sectors to offset the negative contributions stemming from the mining & quarrying and the community, social & personal services sectors; for 2006, a slight improvement at 2.0 percent.

On external trade, exports in 2005 were deemed to have increased by 4.9 percent and imports (excluding aircraft) to have expanded by 7.1 per cent. The upward revision of imports was mainly due to the higher expected imports of machinery (particularly for the restructure of the sugar industry) and mineral fuels (based on expectations of higher prices).

For Fiji's domestic exports, Fish exports for example was $85.1 million in 2004 compared to $85.0 million in 2003. Garments exports increased from $252.7 million in 2003 to $256.4 million in 2004. The growth in export revenue from other commodities is expected to make up for a forecasted drop in sugar export earnings.

Fiji's sugar has special access to European Union markets, but will be harmed by the EU's decision to cut sugar subsidies. Sugar processing makes up one-third of industrial activity but is not efficient.

The Fiji economy has achieved a reasonable degree of diversification that enables it to withstand reasonable shocks such as that experienced in 2000. Destined for dizzying heights, tourism also crashed after the 2000 coup. Visitor arrivals fell 14.2 percent over the same period in 1999, while daily arrivals were cut by almost 50 percent. The introduction of a new concession by Government in 2002 exempting tax on hotel developer's profit plus the range of incentives designed to increase investment in tourism revived this priority sector.

Tourist arrivals bounced back strongly with the number of arrivals in 2005 to be 549,911 and the provisional stats for 2006 being close to 557,800 although Fiji's tourism industry was damaged by the 2006 coup and could be facing an uncertain recovery time.

The political crisis of 2000 saw the Fiji economy decline by 2.8 per cent in that year. This contraction was accompanied by substantial job losses, and migration of skilled and professional workers, the latter trend declining but persisting to the present.

Since 2000, business confidence and private investment have picked up significantly, but not to a point sufficient to drive sustained growth. Skills shortages affect most sectors of the economy, notably the construction industry. Heavy dependency is on Expat professionals from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The economy recorded reasonable growth in the period 2001-04, driven by a resilient and resurgent tourism industry. Growth in 2005 was only 0.7 per cent. This decline from the high growth of 5.4 per cent in 2004 was due principally to the termination of preferential trading arrangements for sugar and garments (affecting exports to the United States), Fiji's major manufacturing and export industries.

The budget for 2007, announced in November, is the first part of a new 5-year Strategic Development Plan. The central objective of the Plan is to reach a target of 5 per cent economic growth per year. The Budget estimated growth for 2006 of 3.6 per cent, driven mainly by tourism, and a projection of 2 per cent growth for 2007.

Government foreign reserves were estimated to be 3.3 months of imports for 2006, and are expected to remain at similar levels for 2007. Remittances totaled FJD311 million for 2005 and are now the second largest foreign exchange earner. Government debt has risen to 50 per cent of GDP, and the Government intends to attempt to maintain a net deficit of not more than 2 per cent of GDP for the next five years in order to see Government debt fall to 45 per cent of GDP. The 2006 budget deficit was estimated to be 3.2 per cent of GDP and the projection for 2007 is 2 per cent, in line with the plans outlined above.

Native Leases

In Fiji, all but a very small percentage of land is vested in the Native Land Trust Board (NLTB), pursuant to the Native Land Trust Act, whose purpose is to protect native land and the native land-owners.

Approximately 98% of Fiji is subject to Native Lease.

Native land is defined in the Act as “land which is neither Crown land nor the subject of a Crown or native grant…” The process of ‘alienation’ of native land is administered by the NLTB which can only be done by way of lease or licence. This is the process whereby Land is identified, surveyed and then separated (alienated) from Native Reserve and vested to the NLTB after which, a 99-year Registered Native Lease can then be granted in favour of the Lessee.

Land leases are held and administered by the NLTB on behalf of the native land owners (land owing unit or LOU). 51% of the land owners, over 18 years of age are required to give consent before a lease can be applied for. Upon receipt and verification of their consent an agreement for sale and purchase can be entered into; an up-front deposit then becomes payable.

The deposit is payable to the NLTB at execution of the agreement. An agreed portion of this deposit (typically 15%) is retained by the NLTB as a management fee; the balance of deposit is then paid out by the NLTB for allocation to the respective land owners.

Only when the NLTB has determined that the grant of a lease over native land is in the best interests of the land-owners will it issue a ‘letter of offer’ setting out the terms upon which a lease will be granted. Upon acceptance by the lessee, an agreement for lease is issued and the lessee then undertakes a survey of the land in order to bring the land under the Land Transfer Act.

After completion of a survey and approval of the survey plan, the NLTB issues the lease based on the ‘agreement for lease’ with the approved survey plan annexed and requests the Registrar of Titles to register a Native Lease. Upon completion of this process, the registered Native Lease becomes the ‘title’ to the land.

PIP has negotiated a unique and commercial lease with the NLTB and is very confident that this lease is acceptable to both international investors and financial institutions.

All monies paid to the land owners (LOU) are paid via the NLTB.

Nadi Fiji

Nadi is located on the western side of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu and is a busy tourist town, mainly due to the fact that Fiji's main International Airport is located here. Over 90% of all tourist and visitors to Fiji pass through this airport, with many direct flights to other Fiji destinations.

Nadi has a number of things to do and places to see, with attractions such as the colorful Sri Siva Subramaniya temple, largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Denarau Island features an 18 hole golf course, resorts, restaurants and marina ( Port Denarau ) which along with transfers to Fiji's famous Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands offers a number of marine services, shotover jet rides and yacht and fishing charters. The Garden of the Sleeping Giant is a popular half or full-day trip close to Nadi, featuring a beautiful orchid collection and a landscaped tropical walk through natural rainforest.

Nadi has a number of resorts and hotels to cater for travelers. There are a number of hotels very close to Nadi International Airport that allow people to have a stop-over before they travel on to other parts of Fiji. Denarau Island is a gated, vacation destination incorporating world renown hotel chains such as Accor’s Sofitel, Sheraton, Hilton, WorldMark and Westin, along with a championship 18-hole golf course and Port Denarau Marina.

Mamanuca Islands

The Mamanuca island group is Fiji's most famous island tourist destinations with a chain of beautiful small islands with white sand beaches and encircled by coral reefs and lagoons. Getting to these islands is quite easy since they are just off the Western side of the mainland coast from Nadi. These islands can easily be seen from the mainland of Viti Levu, with the white coral beaches reflecting the South Pacific sun.

With famous island or resort names such as Castaway, Treasure Island, Beachcomber Island, Bounty and Plantation Island, how can you miss this tropical paradise when visiting the Fiji Islands! Other islands include Malolo (the largest in the group), Malolo Lailai ('little Malolo'), Tavarua (famous for its surf breaks), Monuriki (where Tom Hanks was filmed for Castaway), Tokoriki, Mana, and Matamanoa. Fiji's first overwater bure accommodation.

One of the most popular things to do in the Mamanuca group (pronounced mama-noo-thah) is to take a cruise or island hop from island to island. There are many options to explore this way with South Sea Cruises leaving from Port Denarau Marina a number of times a day. Awesome Adventures catamaran ferry also stops at some Mamanuca islands en route to the Yasawa Islands further north. Scenic helicopter trips over the islands, beaches and reefs. There are also many dive operators that offer scuba diving trips to the many dive sites in the region.

Yasawa Islands

The Yasawa Islands are a chain of islands stretching for 80 kilometers along the north west coast of Viti Levu. There are over 20 volcanic islands in the group with some of the most beautiful, pristine beaches you will find anywhere in the world. The main islands are Yasawa, Naviti, Waya and Nacula.

The main attraction of the Yasawas is the abundance of beautiful white sand beaches, which draw visitors to Fiji from around the world every year. They are simply stunning and unspoiled. Other natural places of interest include the Sawa-i-Lau caves, located on an island of the same name off the southern tip of Yasawa Island. To reach the inner caves one has to swim through a submerged entrance; the caves featured in the Blue Lagoon movie that starred Brooke Shields. Another attraction is the manta rays that swim through the channel south of Naviti Island (seasonal). Incredible to have an underwater diving experience and watch these majestic marine creatures cruise past the bottom tip of Naviti.

In the Yasawas there are several up market resorts - Turtle Island, Yasawa Island Resort and the Navutu Stars Resort on Yaqeta Island that opened in December 2005. Mid-range options include Botaira Resort and Korovou Eco Tour Resort, both on the west coast of Naviti, as well as Octopus Resort on Waya and Mantaray Resort on Nanuyabalavu (south of Naviti). The majority of other options are smaller budget resorts. Snorkeling, scuba-diving, fishing trips and just plain relaxing on the beach are the main activity highlights of the Yasawas. Horse riding is also available at some destinations.