World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Australia and South Pacific

Fiji Travelling Guide
Fiji Travelling Guide

General background: Fiji became independent in 1970, after nearly a century as a British colony. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987, caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by the Indian community (descendants of contract laborers brought to the islands by the British in the 19th century). A 1990 constitution favored native Melanesian control of Fiji, but led to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority. Amendments enacted in 1997 made the constitution more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a coup in May of 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government and gave a mandate to the government of Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than New Jersey

Climate: Tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: Mostly mountains of volcanic origin

Population: 856,346 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Fijian 51% (predominantly Melanesian with a Polynesian admixture), Indian 44%, European, other Pacific Islanders, overseas Chinese, and other 5% (1998 est.)

Religions: Christian 52% (Methodist 37%, Roman Catholic 9%), Hindu 38%, Muslim 8%, other 2%
note: Fijians are mainly Christian, Indians are Hindu, and there is a Muslim minority (1986)

Language: English (official), Fijian, Hindustani

Government type: Republic

Capital: Suva

Legal system: Based on British system

Economic overview: 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 and a growing tourist industry - with 300,000 to 400,000 tourists annually - are the major sources of foreign exchange. Sugar processing makes up one-third of industrial activity. Long-term problems include low investment and uncertain property rights. The political turmoil in Fiji has had a severe impact with the economy shrinking by 2.8% in 2000 and growing by only 1% in 2001. The Fiji Visitor's Bureau expects visitor arrivals to reach pre-coup levels during 2002. The government's ability to manage its budget - which is expected to run a net deficit of 6% in 2002 - will depend upon a return of political stability and investor confidence.

Communication/Telephone system: Modern local, inter-island, and international (wire/radio integrated) public and special-purpose telephone, telegraph, and teleprinter facilities; regional radio communications center.

Places of interest: Fiji is beautiful, it has a pleasant tropical climate, the diving and snorkeling are superb and it has excellent facilities for tourists, whether they are on a tight budget or indulging in the luxuries of a plush resort.

Travel tips: The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs warns that lawlessness and further civil disturbance are a possibility in Fiji following an unsuccessful coup in mid-2000. While it is possible to travel safely to Fiji, some areas remain under night curfew, and civil unrest relating to the trials of the coup participants is possible.