Aug 17, 2008

Bure Levu (The new Main Bure Complex) - a set on Flickr

Matava_Main_Bure_July_2008 (20) by you.
See more pics of the new Main Bure being built here:

Bure Levu (The new Main Bure Complex) - a set on Flickr

Aug 15, 2008

Green hotels on

Sustainable travel—also known as responsible travel, green travel, eco-tourism, and geotourism—is redefining the travel industry. Hotels and other tourism companies are being challenged to do business in an increasingly environmentally friendly, socially responsible way.

This growing demand has spurred many hotels, both large and small, to implement sustainable business practices. To recognize these pioneers, each striving toward the three main areas of sustainability—environmental protection, socio-cultural responsibility, and local economic growth—the Sustainable Tourism Criteria program was created.

Over the past year, Expedia, Inc. has supported the efforts of the United Nations Foundation, United Nations Environmental Programme, United Nations World Tourism Organization, the Rainforest Alliance, and other leading sustainable tourism experts to develop a comprehensive set of standardized global criteria to evaluate sustainable hotels and tour operators. The efforts of these industry and conservation experts will culminate in the Global Baseline for Sustainable Tourism Criteria program, that will be officially launched in October 2008 at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

This program uses criteria pulled from the hundreds of existing certification programs to create a common understanding of what sustainable tourism really means—and best practices for achieving it. These criteria represent a guideline for businesses to strive toward, including a self-assessment piece missing from the current marketplace. Once in place, the Sustainable Tourism Criteria will help consumers, the travel industry, media, and even governments differentiate, recognize, and support sustainable tourism.

To demonstrate our support for this sustainability project—and to help travelers to make informed choices when planning a vacation—Expedia is highlighting hotels that comply with existing certification programs that best match the Global Baseline for Sustainable Tourism Criteria that’s being developed. But this is just the beginning.

In October, our list will be updated to only display the hotels that meet the Global Baseline for Sustainable Tourism Criteria, creating a resource travelers can use to find sustainable hotel options around the world.

Learn more about the Sustainable Tourism Criteria Initiative.

Green hotels on

Aug 13, 2008

Pacific Magazine Ceases Publication

Pacific MagazineThe July-August 2008 issue of Pacific Magazine will be the last. After 32 years, the Hawaii-based news magazine will cease to be a print publication. Publisher Floyd K Takeuchi cited flat circulation, rising postal costs, and competition from the internet as reasons for Pacific’s demise. The magazine intends to carry on as a web-only news portal, but online it will be competing with dozens of other South Pacific internet news sites while as a print publication its sole competitor was Fiji-based Islands Business.

The loss of Pacific Magazine is a sad landmark in the history of Pacific journalism. Pacific’s coverage of events in Micronesia and American Samoa was unsurpassed, and their format was visually pleasing. Departments like High Tide, Pac Notes, Air + Sea, Stuff We Like, Pac Travel, and People Briefs contained little gems of information not found elsewhere. The photography was excellent, making each issue a joy to peruse. And for readers in US postal zones, the subscription rate was much lower than that of Islands Business.

Of course, Pacific Magazine’s situation is not unique. Newspapers and magazines worldwide are hemorrhaging readers and advertising revenue to the internet. Travel guidebooks are also feeling the pinch as people surf for free information. Moon Handbooks South Pacific was discontinued after 28 years when the cost of production exceeded income from book sales. Only amateurs work for free, and much of the travel information currently on the web is the unedited and incomplete work of amateurs. Most of the rest is paid advertising.

I sincerely hope Pacific Magazine’s advertisers stick with them online so they can continue covering the Pacific islands as they have up until now. Nevertheless, I’m going to miss the printed magazine which I’ve indexed and used as a primary reference for three decades. My thanks to editor Samantha Magick and publisher Floyd Takeuchi for all their hard work, and I wish them every success in their new web-only format.

South Pacific Travel Blog: Pacific Magazine Ceases Publication

Google Books South Pacific

Moon Handbooks South PacificThe entire text of the eighth edition of Moon Handbooks South Pacific is now accessible on Google Books. You can scroll down through the 1,091 pages or click the Contents link to jump to a specific section. Buttons at the top of the page allow you zoom in, view two pages at a time, or switch to full screen. From the righthand column, you can search inside the book. Moon Handbooks South Pacific is rich in detail and you’ll find specific information on thousands of islands.

Anyone seriously interested in the Pacific islands will want Moon Handbooks South Pacific in their library and the “buy this book” links on the Google Books page make it easy to order online. At US$16.47 from, this fully indexed handbook is a bargain. A ninth edition will not be published for reasons explained in South Pacific Handbook RIP, so don’t bother waiting for the new edition because it isn’t going to happen. I’ve given Google Books permission to post my book on their website to make its full contents easily accessible to people the world. Downloading, copying, saving, or printing out pages from Google Books is restricted as Moon Handbooks South Pacific is protected copyright.

South Pacific Travel Blog: Google Books South Pacific

Grist - The Environment - TIME

Grist is the Colbert Report of climate change, the Daily Show of deforestation, the Oprah of oil dependency — except with real reporting and analytical journalism.

Also, Grist staffers have never had a dust-up with David Letterman. (Not yet.) The e-zine delivers news and news-you-can-use on pivotal topics — with punny, sometimes corny headlines, such as "Diversifying Your Stalk Portfolio," a recent article on hunters and climate change, or "Let's Call the Coal Thing Off," a take on the growing popularity of "coal-bashing."

One of the site's most visited and handiest features should be bookmarked in every climate-defender's browser: Coby Beck's comprehensive rebuttal to all global-warming naysayers, "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic."

Sample Grist humor: You might want to sit down for this: Al Gore will announce his candidacy for president this week, knowledgeable sources tell Grist. There's an inconvenient truth for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Gore believes the two Democrats and Republican John McCain aren't giving climate change the urgent attention it deserves, so he's decided to go for the job himself, say Gore advisors who requested anonymity as they aren't authorized to speak to the press. (The story ran on April Fools' Day.)

Grist - The Environment - TIME

Aug 10, 2008

Tips for responsible travel

Things to consider when planning an unforgettable eco vacation

What is the best way to travel in a responsible manner? First, it is important to have a clear picture of what responsible travel actually means. In general terms, what sets responsible travel apart from conventional travel is its emphasis on conservation, education, and participation in the activities of local communities. Now that we know this, we can start thinking about ways in which we can incorporate these concepts when planning our ideal vacation.

  • When choosing your travel destination, try to find environmentally friendly means of getting there. Planes emit the most carbon dioxide per traveler, so try reaching your vacation spot by train or bus, to minimize the emission of greenhouse gases. It may take you a bit longer to get there, but you will be reducing your carbon footprint considerably.
  • Once you reach your destination, try to avoid taxis or renting cars, and travel on foot or using public transport to get from place to place.
  • Try to stay at green hotels- hotels that are committed to minimizing their impact on the environment and emphasize sustainability. Hotels with energy reduction practices, waste management, and other environmentally sound policies are always good options. Take a look at the hotels on this website for some ideas.
  • If you are thinking of bringing back souvenirs, try buying local merchandise. Souvenirs manufactured ion the other side of the globe not only imply more fuel costs and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions, but they do nothing to contribute to local the communities. Souvenirs made locally generate direct benefits for the communities you visit.
  • Take your digital camera. Digital photos don’t carry developing costs and there is not need for film.
  • Don’t buy packaged snacks which create unnecessary waste. Eat organic foods, which are grown implementing techniques that reduce pollution and conserve water and soil. Not only are they grown employing environmentally friendly practices, but they taste better.
These are just a few easy tips we can consider when planning our vacation. After all, our trips don’t just carry a monetary price; they carry an environmental price as well. - Eco Articles - Tips for responsible trave