III. MECHANISMS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS INTO ECONOMIC DECISION-MAKING
E. Sectoral coordination and conflict: some case studies
3. Logging and tourism
The National State of the Environment Report (Watling and Chape, 1992) provides specific examples of conflicts between logging and tourism. Severe upland erosion resulting from poor logging practices in the catchment behind a major resort on the Coral Coast of Viti Levu has led to siltation of the resort water supply, resulting in delivery of substandard water to guests and the need to install rainwater tanks. The erosion has also diminished secondary tourism opportunities available to the resort (as well as other resorts in the area) in the form of bush-walking activities and freshwater swimming in a rain forest setting. The resort also created its own environmental problems by altering coastal processes during initial construction in the mid-1970s, through the construction of an artificial island and sea walls. The original engineering works were not properly constructed and are now disintegrating, resulting in coarse stone material from the sea walls degrading the quality of the resort beaches. The problems associated with coastal processes are compounded by the nearby stream mouth and the lagoon being made shallower by the deposition of upstream sediment.
This example illustrates a situation where a combination of factors threatens the viability of a resort that has, to date, fulfilled government tourism objectives and contributed to the economic and social well-being of the traditional landowners. The factors include a lack of resource management in the steep hinterland, an absence of cross-sectoral planning and coordination, a failure to carry out appropriate EIA procedures, and poor coastal engineering and locational analyses by the developers. The case study highlights the need for an integrated approach to environmental management and tourism developments at the national planning level and during on-site development planning and construction.
Tourism is playing a vital role in the development of Fiji. The environmental resources which support the tourism industry must therefore be conserved and managed. If properly sited and managed, tourism could provide social and economic benefits to those communities in Fiji whose only other options may be environmentally degrading and potentially non-sustainable such as large-scale logging operations.