Below the surface, Fiji’s coral reefs are a treasure trove of marine biodiversity, captivating divers and snorkelers with their enchanting beauty reminiscent of the vibrant underwater world depicted in Finding Nemo. In particular, Fiji’s Namena Marine Reserve stands out as a source of inspiration for the beloved film. It was here that Pixar’s animation team immersed themselves in aquatic research to capture the essence of the ocean’s magic, and a place where I, too, am captivated by its wonders. Equipped with guidance from the expert dive team from Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort and the advanced technology of my Apple Watch Ultra 2 dive computer, I find myself ascending up the reef’s towering columns like Finding Nemo’s Australian dentist. However, reefs like these are under threat, and Fiji—recognizing its importance to the environment, Fijians, and tourism revenue—is dedicated to protecting and restoring them while offering visitors the opportunity to contribute.
“Without a protected environment and culture, we lose what attracts visitors to our shores,” explains Brent Hill, CEO of Tourism Fiji. “We are actively collaborating with industry, community, and government stakeholders to align nationwide sustainability goals, embracing eco-friendly practices, championing marine and environmental conservation, and fostering community-based tourism, all while embracing the renewable energy revolution.” Launching in late 2024, Tourism Fiji’s Loloma Hour program will transform traditional holiday indulgence into lasting joy by offering visitors the chance to contribute through environmental, cultural, and community initiatives for one hour a day, embodying the belief that true happiness stems from generosity. Additionally, Tourism Fiji and PADI’s new Bula Blue initiative will strive to make Fiji the top sustainable destination with the largest network of PADI Eco Centers, enhancing regenerative travel to benefit local communities. They aim to grow Marine Protected Areas by 30% by 2030, incorporate Adopt the Blue at all dive sites, and through PADI AWARE, offer Fijians diving careers and support local conservation efforts.