What is the origin of your innovation? Tell the Changemakers and media communities what prompted you to start this initiative.
Richard, drawn to water based activities since childhood has been in search for a career where he could combine his passion for diving with work. Matava was purchased in 2002 with the vision to transform the backpacker resort into an eco-haven with benefit to communities and potential to educate visitors through exposure to the natural and cultural environments.
Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers' marketing material.
The team's combined passion for conservation of the natural environment brought them together to develop Matava as their ideal dream for 'how tourism should be run'. Richard, an English native is a PADI instructor & active in environmental programmes purchased Matava Resort in May 2002. Adrian, Matava Resort Gamefishing director and an IGFA certified captain skippers the resort’s gamefishing vessel while advocating tag & release. Jeanie worked in the corporate world of San Francisco and New York before meeting Richard in a taxi in Nairobi while both were independently traveling through Africa. A diverse team with mutual goals in mind.
Describe some unique tourist experiences that your approach provides. Be specific; give illustrative examples.
Matava Resort is a small and intimate getaway designed to blend in with its natural environment. Traditional thatched Fijian bures nestled on the edge of the rainforest look out over the Pacific Ocean and Great Astrolabe barrier reef. It is the resort's policy to minimize our impact on the environment and to promote and support ecologically sound conservation measures in our community. We try doing this in a number of ways:
All lighting in the oceanview accommodation and the main bure is solar powered. The resort office also derives all its power from solar energy. The resort does not operate any main generators, only a small emergency back-up generator for the office should the need arise.
Solar Hot Water
All accommodation is supplied with hot water derived from solar energy. As each of the older style bures are replaced with a new-build oceanview bure, a solar hot water system is installed.
We minimize the need to import vegetables with associated transportation carbon emissions by maintaining a large organic garden in the resort grounds. In addition, we supply local village farmers with seeds and then purchase the fruit and vegetables from them. Many fruit trees such as banana and papaya are scattered through the grounds.
All rubbish is sorted. Food waste is fed to local pigs. We compost as much waste as possible for the organic farm. Plastic and glass bottles are recycled, as are aluminum cans. Batteries and empty aerosol cans are impossible for us to dispose of and we request that guests take these with them to their home country where suitable methods of disposal are available.
We leave areas of land around the resort uncultivated to encourage the growth of native wild flowers and ferns. Part of the resort foreshore is naturally a mangrove shoreline and has been left untouched. Mangroves prevent erosion and provide sanctuary to juvenile fish. No insecticides or herbicides are used on the proper
What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?
We would benefit from more and stronger partnerships with international ecotourism associations (TIES & ATTA) and more directly with local conservation NGO's (WWF, WCS, PACDF, CI, LMMA) in assisting with community education. Currently our capacity for this is limited by our small staff. Our next step in Eco-Certification is proving to be expensive, not in regards to our ability, but in the application fees and inspection requirements. We are aiming for Green Globe 21 Benchmarking and Certification, but the costs associated with flying in an international inspector and the international application fees are proving prohibitive.