Travel and Tourism - Fiji - November 2012
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Fiji is one of the 15 small developing island states in the South West Pacific and is located in the Pacific Ocean approximately 3,000km off the east coast off Australia. The country is comprised of 322 islands, most of them very small. The majority of people live on Viti Levu, the largest island. Fiji is the second-largest island nation in the South Pacific in terms of economy and population after Papua New Guinea. Fiji has been the traditional hub of the South Pacific for airlines, shipping services, trading and higher education.
The first settlements in Fiji were started by voyaging traders and settlers from the west about 5,000 years ago. The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman visited Fiji in 1643; however, the ferocity of the cannibal lifestyle deterred European sailors from going near Fijian waters, giving Fiji the name Cannibal Isles.
Fiji is an ideal tropical getaway for Australian and New Zealanders as it is both close and affordable. Australia, New Zealand and the US are the main source countries and together represent 75% of total tourist arrivals. Fiji is mostly known as a sun-and-sand destination but over the past ten years, the country has increasingly promoted its rich culture and nature.
Tourist arrivals are always very sensitive to political unrest in a country and the different coup d’etats have each caused a drop in arrivals. The political situation has stabilised over the last five years and in 2011, Fiji received a record number of 675,050 foreign visitors.
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