Cruising around Fiji
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). The coups and a 1990 constitution that cemented native Melanesian control of Fiji, led to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority.
A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia QARASE.
Location: Oceania, island group in the South Pacific Ocean, about
two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand
Measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
Tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation
Mostly mountains of volcanic origin
Lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
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 300,000 to 400,000 tourists annually - are the major sources of foreign exchange. 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. Long-term problems include low investment, uncertain land ownership rights, and the government's ability to manage its budget. Yet, because of a tourist boom, short-run economic prospects are good, provided tensions do not again erupt between indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians. Overseas remittances from Fijians working in Kuwait and Iraq have increased significantly.
Airports: 28 (2005)
203 km; note: 122 km navigable by motorized craft and 200-metric-ton barges (2004)
Total: 7 ships (1000 GRT or over) 15,867 GRT/8,432 DWT
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Lambasa, Lautoka, Suva
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region
American Samoa - Australia - Cook Island - Easter Islands (Chile) - Federation of Micronesia - Fiji - Guam - USA (Hawaii) - Kiribati - Marshall Islands - Nauru - New Caledonia - New Zealand - Niue - Norfolk Island - Northern Mariana Islands - Palau - Papua New Guinea - Pitcairn Island - Samoa - Solomon Island - Tokelau - Tonga - Tuvalu - Vanuatu - Wallis and Futuna