The village of Bagata is in Wailevu district of Cakaudrove – the province which occupies the eastern side of Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu. Bagata is only a 30 minute drive from Savusavu town, and is sheltered by mountains and hills. WCS’s Sirilo Dulunaqio (aka Didi) recently had the chance to talk to a man from Bagata who is behind a new initiative that will have many benefits for the people of the village. This is what he reported in our Community Bulletin newsletter this month….
The discussion of setting up a Village Eco Tour started in November 2011 and it materialised in January 2012. The Village Eco Tour helps tourists and understand the whole ecosystem including human beings and their various functions, and the communities get to showcase their traditional way of living and culture. At the moment there are 2 regular customers: Rosie Tours of Nadi and the Namale Resort and Spa – the latter comes in every Thursday to do a Village Eco Tour.
“The women of Bagata find this an opportunity to sell their handicrafts made from all the available resources around them, and this is an alternative livelihood for them”, says Bagata’s Environment Committee Chairman, Mr Vilimone Tulevu.
Beyond the Village Eco Tour there are 3 other sites in development: Magic Waterfall, Rock Pool Bathing and Hot Spring. Also they are proposing to have an Evening Village Tour so tourists get to see what a normal Fijian village evening is like. All money collected from the Village Eco Tour goes directly to a scholarship fund that the children of Bagata will access in 2014.
Mr Tulevu says that Bagata village is having discussions with Telecom Fiji and Vodafone Fiji to set up an Information Centre. “As part of our main objective we are thinking of expanding the Village Eco Tour and tapping into other organisations or government ministries that can help with this project for the benefit of the future generation of Bagata Village”, says Mr Tulevu.
Photo credits: Namale Resort and Spa