Tuvalu hopes for rising tide of tourists


Tuvalu is turning its devastating annual high tide into a festival to attract tourists.

The island chain, which at its highest is just four metres above sea level, will hold its first King Tide Festival in February 2010.

Tourism officer for the Tuvalu government, Fakasoa Tealei, says sea levels are an issue that threatens Tuvaluans.

“At the same time we are holding festivals and music, games and activities and we want people to see the impacts of the sea level rise especially climate change towards every Tuvaluans who live on this earth,” he said.

Fakasoa Tealei says during a king tide there is water everywhere, and that threatens Tuvaluans all over the world.

A researcher at Melbourne’s Victoria University, Terry DeLacy, says this sort of eco-tourism is something that many Pacific Island countries are looking at introducing.

“What they’re doing in Tuvalu is a wonderful opportunity because tourism brings real export earnings, real dollars and real money into these communities which is much needed and gives great opportunities for development,” he said. “They are very challenged and vulnerable to climate change many of the Pacific islands, the most vulnerable of anywhere in the world and if they can bring that together, how good is that?”