Since 2001, the Mamanuca Environment Society (MES) has dedicated itself to defending the environment of Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands. This nonprofit environmental conservation society partners with residents, government organizations, and companies throughout Fiji and nearby resorts in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands, as it works to raise support and awareness for the area’s marine and coastal resources.
One of the Mamanuca Environment Society’s many initiatives aimed at protecting local flora and fauna is its recurring snorkeling workshop. At the request of its member resorts, the society regularly presents refresher workshops for resort activities staff to ensure that they are taking a safe and environmentally conscious approach to their tourist snorkeling excursions. Over two days, the MES snorkeling workshop instructs staff on the importance of conserving marine wildlife, specifically coral reefs. In doing so, it enables staff members to pass on this knowledge to guests and further promote conservation efforts.
The workshop also includes practical elements such as effective strategies for teaching both basic and advanced snorkeling techniques. In addition to preparing staff to lead guests on a snorkel tour, it covers basic first aid and rescue skills, teaches participants how to properly observe marine wildlife and coral formations without harming either one.
Dedicated to protecting the environmental resources and biodiversity of Fiji’s Mamanuca Region, the Mamanuca Environment Society (MES) encourages the sustainable use of resources, as well as collaboration between all Mamanuca residents and visitors, to preserve the region’s flora and fauna. MES partners with numerous local tourist resorts to carry out its goals, and its joint initiative with the Mana Island Resort and Spa has gone to great lengths to restore and protect Fiji’s turtle populations.
The Mana Turtle Recovery pond serves as a safe haven for injured, sick, and displaced turtles rescued from the wild. It takes in hatchlings and juveniles that are too weak to survive on their own and cares for them until they can safely reenter the ecosystem. The project draws on support from The University of the South Pacific’s Marine Resources and the Fiji Department of Fisheries while MES assists in monitoring the young turtles’ health, diet, and growth. By collecting data on their progress and documenting it with the Pacific Regional Environment Programme’s Turtle Research and Monitory Database Tool, MES helps to develop strategies to maximize the turtles’ survival rates and improve Fiji’s marine turtle population.
As of July 2015, the Mana Turtle Recovery pond housed 33 hatchlings and three juveniles, two of which were almost healthy enough to return to the wild. Because the Mana Turtle Recovery at Mana Island Resort and Spa is a popular attraction for visitors, it also serves as an instrument to raise awareness and support for Fiji’s struggling yet resilient turtles.
David Pflieger is the CEO of Hawaii Island Air, a U.S.-based airline. His career in the airline industry spans nearly two decades, preceded by experience in the Air Force. In addition, Dave Pflieger coordinated the turnaround of Air Pacific, a Fiji-based airline serving the South Pacific. Dave Pflieger served as the MD and CEO of the airline, which ultimately reverted to the name “Fiji Airways.”
Travelers with Fiji Airways can collect frequent flyer points and join the Tabua Club. The airline extends the business-class check-in service to members of the club. Tabua Club members can also enjoy the Tabua Lounge at Fiji’s Nadi International Airport and affiliated lounges in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the United States. An additional benefit is expanded international baggage allowance.
Moreover, several Fiji partners of the Tabua Club offer club members VIP privileges and savings. These include deals on merchandise, dining, and services. Individual members pay an annual fee of FJ$ 450 to receive the above perks.
From 2010- 2013, Air Pacific Ltd. instituted a major financial and operational turnaround, returning to its prior name, Fiji Airways, in the process. The airline had been known as Fiji Airways from 1958 to 1970, when the name was changed to reflect its regional standing. However, as CEO Dave Pflieger noted in 2012, the increasing prominence of Fiji as a tourist destination in the 2000s and early 2010s merited a rebranding of the national tourism office and the country’s national carrier.
Today, Fiji Airways operates in a growing, vibrant tourist hotspot. At a recent tourism industry conference, the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association reported another record-breaking year, with over 700,000 people visiting the nation. The continued growth in Fiji's tourism sector, especially its growth in Asian markets, is due, in a large part, to the success of Tourism Fiji, the country’s National Tourism Office and Fiji Airways following the successful turnaround and rebranding of both entities–efforts that were led by Dave Pflieger. The airline's growth in China has been cited as a major factor, and as Fiji Airways continues to work closely with its homeland, further expansion across Asia is expected to represent the next chapter in Fijian tourism development.
About David Pflieger
David Pflieger - Senior Airline Executive