VILLAGERS of Daliconi in Vanuabalavu have committed to preserving their culture and traditions in the hope that it will continue to draw tourists in the lucrative yachting industry to their island.
Daliconi Village headman Sanaila Koroi made the comments as border agencies comprising the Ministry of Health, FRCA, Department of Immigration and Biosecurity Authority of Fiji completed an unprecedented first by allowing international yachts to use Vanuabalavu as a temporary port of entry.
Mr Koroi said the awareness sessions with the various border agencies had taught the villagers that staying true to their culture and not compromising it would attract more yachties.
"We understand now that it is our culture and tradition that yachties will talk about when they visit other destinations around the world," Mr Koroi said.
"This will attract more yachts to Vanuabalavu as they will want to see the culture and traditions that we practise everyday."
Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association Marine Operators sub-committee national co-ordinator John Philp said it was important that the villagers felt secure about traditional restrictions such as Sunday observance and their cultural values were respected.
"That's actually one of the reasons that yachts desire to come to Lau because it's untouched, it's very different to say the same for Yasawa Group which is quite touristy now," Mr Philp said.
He explained that in a sense yachting tourism could help ensure the culture of the people of Lau was protected.
"In some ways some might argue that the culture of the people of Lau could be in danger. But, in fact, because people come here to see a different way of life, to see how people live in the environment here, then you can see that yachting tourism could contribute to preserving the culture."