Q & A with Susan and Michael Crocker, Founders, Fiji Eco Tours, Nadi, Viti Levu, Republic of Fiji.
In operation since 2009. The real Fijian Experience.
WHAT LED YOU TO DEVELOP FIJI ECO TOURS?
Being an outdoors person and born in the country, I feel very close to nature. We also saw a need for an eco tour business in Fiji that was not being filled by the hotel industry.
HOW ARE THE PEOPLE FARING SINCE CYCLONE WINSTON
[A CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE] CAME THROUGH IN EARLY 2016?
We have recovered very well through the assistance of other countries.
The Republic of Fiji has over 300 islands! But you will find the majority of Fijians living either on Viti Levu or Vanua Levu, those are the two largest islands. This is still a "young" country, not quite 50 years independent from Great Britain.
Our blend of volcanoes, forests, waterfalls, lagoons, coral reefs, and white sand beaches makes us a top vacation destination, especially for visitors from Australia, New Zealand, and China.
Many people in Fiji can trace their ancestry to other islands in the southwest Pacific region or to places like India.
Yes, definitely. Fijians have a natural flair for hospitality and tolerance.
WHICH OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES ARE ESPECIALLY POPULAR AMONG YOUR GUESTS?
Visitors enjoy day hikes into the forests, visits to waterfalls or to the mud pools, horseback riding, cultural exchanges, swimming or snorkeling along the beach coasts.
We have long-established relationships with several villages, and actually each one offers a different experience due to factors such as geographical location, culture and history. Some villages retain more traditional home structures, while others are more modern - just one example. We prefer to discuss the options with each individual to determine which village is the best match.
WHAT TYPES OF BIRDS AND WILD ANIMALS ARE THERE TO SEE?
IS NATURE CONSERVATION A GROWING CONCERN IN FIJI?
There is a growing awareness of the damage that is caused by river gravel excavation and by forest burning [to expand land for agriculture]. Planting of trees along river banks and newer Government bylaws can discourage such river excavations. Continuing educational programs in the villages will increase awareness about the dangers of forest slash-and-burn.
Yes, fish and spinach cooked with coconut cream is a must-try; really any seafood (i.e., octopus, mussels, seaweed) cooked with coconut cream is delicious. All the root crops are very good and nutritious, cooked ripe bananas are also popular.
WHICH COMMUNITY PROJECTS CAN GUESTS PARTICIPATE IN
IF THEY ARE INTERESTED?
They can help in the building of schools, community halls, and churches. They can volunteer on clean-up projects, they can support education and awareness of beautification programs for the villages.
WHAT FUTURE PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR COMPANY?
We will continue to grow rich in the preservation of our pristine environment and to provide future sustenance for the village people.
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