Traveling Luck for Fiji

Fiji is located in Oceania, island group in the South Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand.

Land in Fiji is mostly mountains of volcanic origin.

Fijian land covers an area of 18270 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than New Jersey

As for the Fijian climate; tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation.

Fijian(s) speak English (official), Fijian, Hindustani.

Fijian National Map

Fijian Map

Regions of 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.


Fiji Country Profile

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.

Fijian natural resources include timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil potential, hydropower

includes 332 islands; approximately 110 are inhabited

Fijian religion is Christian 52% (Methodist 37%, Roman Catholic 9%), Hindu 38%, Muslim 8%, other 2%.

Natural hazards in Fiji include cyclonic storms can occur from November to January.

Travel Advice on Fiji

Fiji

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Entry Requirements, Health, Natural Disasters and General sections. The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • We advise against all but essential travel to Suva.  On 5 December, the Fiji Military Commander dismissed the elected Prime Minister and Government of Fiji and announced that he had assumed control of the country.  A state of emergency is now in place in Fiji and curfews could be imposed without warning.  Although the security situation in Fiji is currently calm, it could deteriorate at short notice.  The British High Commission in Suva is monitoring events closely.  If you are in Fiji, you should register with the British High Commission.

  • You should exercise caution when travelling to the rest of Fiji, particularly in urban areas.  There is the potential for civil unrest following the military coup.  You should avoid all military or political rallies and large gatherings of people.  You should also keep yourself informed of developments, including by regularly checking this Travel Advice.

  • We advise you to ensure that you are comfortable with, and regularly review your own and your family’s security arrangements. You should consider how you might leave Fiji quickly should the security situation deteriorate.

  • The Military has set up a series of vehicle checkpoints in Suva, Nadi, Lautoka and Labasa, but traffic is running freely at present.  The airport in Suva and the international airport in Nadi currently remain open and commercial flights are operating as normal.

  • Penalties for possession of any amount of marijuana carry a mandatory prison sentence.

  • The threat from terrorism in Fiji is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Fiji involves the theft of money and passports.  The majority of consular cases occur on the main island of Viti Levu.  Robberies, thefts and assaults have occurred against foreigners in Fiji.  You should take appropriate precautions.

  • Tropical cyclones are common in Fiji from the beginning of November until the end of April.  Please see: Hurricanes.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

NATURAL DISASTERS

Fiji is in an earthquake zone and suffers from tremors time to time.  On 3 May 2006, an earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale was recorded 95 miles off the coast of Tonga. Tsunami alerts were put in place for Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa and Hawaii.
The cyclone season in Fiji normally runs from November to April.  You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) You can also access National Hurricane Centre for updates. Please also see Hurricanes for more detailed information about what to do if you are caught up in a cyclone.  The islands are affected occasionally but there is a warning system in operation.  Most hotels are well equipped for these occasions.

Flash floods resulting in landslides and road blockages are not uncommon. On 4 February, Parts of the Northern Division were flooded in storms.  The town of Labasa on the island of Vanua Levu was particularly badly affected.  Savusavu also suffered some flooding and a loss of power and water supplies.  Services have now been restored to most areas of Savusavu and Labasa, but some are still without.  Residents have been advised to boil drinking water.  Food supplies have been damaged by floodwater or lack of electricity for refrigeration.  Telephone communications are being repaired.  Airports remain operational.  Some tourist facilities have been damaged.  If you are planning to visit Vanua Levu you should check with your tour operator or resort.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help

Most tourist hotels and many restaurants accept credit cards.  But not all ATMs accept the full range of credit cards issued overseas.  The Australian and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) and Westpac ATMs accept UK Visa and Mastercard, and UK debit cards with Maestro and/or Cirrus symbols.

Airport Departure Tax is 30.00 Fijian Dollars, which includes Noise Tax and Airport Departure Tax.  Increasingly, this is included in the ticket price, but you may wish to check that this is so.

The British High Commission is located in Suva, around 200kms from the main holiday resort areas in the west.  There may thus be some delay in rendering assistance to those who encounter problems in the west, given the distance involved, time taken to reach the west from Suva and the difficulties with travel on the Suva to Nadi road after dark.

We recommend that all resident British nationals register with the British High Commission in Suva, either by fax e-mail or mail.

The British High Commission in Suva does not issue passports, but applications for a new passport should be submitted to the High Commission for processing.  Please note that you can apply up to nine months before your current passport expires.  Any remaining period of validity will be credited to your replacement passport. You will be allowed to retain your old passport while waiting for the replacement to be processed and returned.

Urgent passport applications will be forwarded by commercial courier to the British High Commission in Wellington, and the courier cost (currently F$119) will be added to the passport fee.  Your application will be processed as quickly as possible, but you should be aware that due to the distances involved, it is likely that there will be a delay in issuing you with a full replacement British passport.  Less urgent applications will be forwarded to Wellington via the Diplomatic bag, which is routed through London, free of charge.

Where necessary the High Commission can issue an Emergency Passport or a Temporary Passport.  Emergency Passports are not machine readable, and are valid only for a single journey back to the UK using agreed transit points, or to Commonwealth countries, provided a prior arrangement exists with the authorities of the Commonwealth country concerned.  Temporary Passports are machine readable and valid for one year.
With effect from 26 October 2006, anyone issued with a Temporary Passport will need to obtain a visa in order to visit or transit the US.  Temporary Passports issued prior to this date will not be affected, but holders should check that their book contains sufficient validity for the duration of their stay.