THE Coral Coast's Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa has a marine sanctuary awareness program that is benefitting both tourists and locals alike.
And to make this exercise effective, a learning centre established three years ago is used to educate both children and adults, where staff use creative and colourful props to attract the attention of visitors.
Sanctuary service manager Mereoni Mataika said the centre was one of the biggest projects and the resort was passionate about it.
"We use colourful materials, recyclable papers, bottles and plastics to make this learning centre attractive," she said.
Ms Mataika said the centre featured awareness on tree cutting, coral reefs, mangroves preservation, turtle breeding and problems associated with damaging the environment and the marine ecosystem.
"We make colourful stuff to make learning interactive and attractive. It draws attention as artists used their imagination to bring their creations to life."
She said they did not spend a lot of money to decorate the centre, using recyclable material as much as they could.
"We know that science can be boring for some kids, so we have to be creative in how we can draw their attention.
"Some tourists come to Fiji with no understanding of the importance of coral reefs. They are quite surprised with the centre's explanation on its importance to small islands and how it is a nursery to 60 per cent of the marine species."
She said more than 12,000 people, including locals, had visited the learning centre.
"This includes students who come here for their school excursions."
Ms Mataika said the resort planned to expand the marine centre because of the demand from the resort and the locals. Meanwhile, the resort has also planted about 2000 mangrove seedlings on its beaches as part of its campaign to protect the marine ecosystem and habitat.
She said the project was to help protect the resort's shorelines.
"We planted these seedlings with some volunteers and schools from the villages in Sigatoka," she said.
Ms Mataika said the resort wanted to grow mangroves along its coast again.
"We used to have mangroves along our shores but they were cut down and now we want to replant it. It protects our shorelines as a natural seawall.
"Mangroves are very important.
"They provide shelter for marine organisms and when they are cut down, most of these organisms are at risk and sometimes perish."
Ms Mataika said once mangroves were destroyed, the coral would be affected as well.