consists of 322 islands, of which
110 are inhabited, and 522 smaller
islets. The two most important islands
are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Viti
Levu hosts the capital city of Suva,
and is home to nearly three quarters
of the population. The islands are
mountainous, with peaks up to 1,300
metres (4,250 ft), and covered with
tropical forests. Other important
towns include Nadi (the location of
the international airport), and Lautoka.
The main towns on Vanua Levu are Labasa
and Savusavu. Other islands and island
groups include Taveuni and Kadavu
(the third and fourth largest islands
respectively), the Mamanuca Group
(just outside Nadi) and Yasawa Group,
which are popular tourist destinations,
the Lomaiviti Group, outside of Suva,
and the remote Lau Group. Rotuma,
some 500 kilometres (310 mi) north
of the archipelago, has a special
administrative status in Fiji.
endowed with forest, mineral, and
fish resources, is one of the most
developed of the Pacific island economies,
though still with a large subsistence
sector. Fiji experienced a period
of rapid growth in the 1960s and 70s
but stagnated in the early 1980s.
The coups of 1987 caused further contraction.
Economic liberalisation in the years
following the coup created a boom
in the garment industry and a steady
growth rate despite growing uncertainty
of land tenure in the sugar industry.
The expiration of leases for sugar
cane farmers (along with reduced farm
and factory efficiency) has led to
a decline in sugar production despite
a subsidised price. Subsidies for
sugar have been provided by the EU
and Fiji has been the second largest
beneficiary after Mauritius.