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Tuvalu

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Flag
Image:tv-flag.png
Quick Facts
CapitalFongafale
Governmentconstitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy; began debating republic status in 1992
CurrencyAustralian dollar (AUD); note - there is also a Tuvaluan dollar
Areatotal: 26 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 26 sq km
Population11,146 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageTuvaluan, English, Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)
ReligionChurch of Tuvalu (Congregationalist) 97%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.4%, Baha'i 1%, other 0.6%
Internet TLD.tv

In 1974, ethnic differences within the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote for separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands. The following year, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. Independence was granted in 1978. In 2000, Tuvalu negotiated a contract leasing its Internet domain name ".tv" for $50 million in royalties over the next dozen years.


tuvalu Travel Guide :

Tuvalu

Geography

Image:tv-map.png
Map of Tuvalu
Location 
Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia
Geographic coordinates 
8 00 S, 178 00 E
Map references 
Oceania
Area 
total: 26 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 26 sq km
Area - comparative 
0.1 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries 
0 km
Coastline 
24 km
Maritime claims 
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Climate 
tropical; moderated by easterly trade winds (March to November); westerly gales and heavy rain (November to March)
Terrain 
very low-lying and narrow coral atolls
Elevation extremes 
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 5 m
Natural resources 
fish
Land use 
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
NA sq km
Natural hazards 
severe tropical storms are usually rare, but, in 1997, there were three cyclones; low level of islands make them very sensitive to changes in sea level
Environment - current issues 
since there are no streams or rivers and groundwater is not potable, most water needs must be met by catchment systems with storage facilities (the Japanese Government has built one desalination plant and plans to build one other); beachhead erosion because of the use of sand for building materials; excessive clearance of forest undergrowth for use as fuel; damage to coral reefs from the spread of the Crown of Thorns starfish; Tuvalu is very concerned about global increases in greenhouse gas emissions and their effect on rising sea levels, which threaten the country's underground water table; in 2000, the government appealed to Australia and New Zealand to take in Tuvaluans if rising sea levels should make evacuation necessary
Environment - international agreements 
party to: Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Law of the Sea
Geography - note 
one of the smallest and most remote countries on Earth; six of the coral atolls - Nanumea, Nui, Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Funafuti, and Nukulaelae - have lagoons open to the ocean; Nanumaya and Niutao have landlocked lagoons; Niulakita does not have a lagoon
Tuvalu

People

Population 
11,146 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure 
0-14 years: 32.6% (male 1,851; female 1,785)
15-64 years: 62.3% (male 3,335; female 3,607)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 233; female 335) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 
1.4% (2002 est.)
Birth rate 
21.44 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate 
7.45 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate 
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio 
at birth: 1.05 mas)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 mas)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 mas)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 mas)/female
total population: 0.95 mas)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
22 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 66.98 years
female: 69.23 years (2002 est.)
male: 64.83 years
Total fertility rate 
3.07 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
NA%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths 
NA
Nationality 
noun: Tuvaluan(s)
adjective: Tuvaluan
Ethnic groups 
Polynesian 96%, Micronesian 4%
Religions 
Church of Tuvalu (Congregationalist) 97%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.4%, Baha'i 1%, other 0.6%
Languages 
Tuvaluan, English, Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)
Literacy 
definition: percentage of people over the age of 15 who can read and write
total population: 55% (1996)
male: NA%
female: NA%
Tuvalu

Government

Country name 
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Tuvalu
note: "Tuvalu" means "group of eight," referring to the country's eight traditionally inhabited islands
former: Ellice Islands
Government type 
constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy; began debating republic status in 1992
Capital 
Fongafale
Administrative divisions 
none
Independence 
1 October 1978 (from UK)
National holiday 
Independence Day, 1 October (1978)
Constitution 
1 October 1978
Legal system 
NA
Suffrage 
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch 
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Tomasi PUAPUA, M.D. (since 26 June 1998)
elections: the monarch is herary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by and from the members of Parliament; election last held 2 August 2002 (next to be held NA)
election results: Saufatu SOPOANGA elected prime minister; Parliamentary vote - Saufatu SOPOANGA 8, Amasone KILEI 7
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister
head of government: Prime Minister Saufatu SOPOANGA (since 2 August 2002)
Legislative branch 
unicameral Parliament or Fale I Fono, also called House of Assembly (15 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 25 July 2002 (next to be held NA 2006)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 15
Judicial branch 
High Court (a chief justice visits twice a year to preside over its sessions; its rulings can be appealed to the Court of Appeal in Fiji); eight Island Courts (with limited jurisdiction)
Political parties and leaders 
there are no political parties but members of Parliament usually align themselves in informal groupings
Political pressure groups and leaders 
none
International organization participation 
ACP, AsDB, C, ESCAP, IFRCS (associate), ITU, Sparteca, SPC, SPF, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WTrO (applicant)
Diplomatic representation in the US 
Tuvalu does not have an embassy in the US - the country's only diplomatic post is in Fiji - Tuvalu does, however, have a UN office located at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400D, New York, New York 10017, telephone: 1 (212) 490-0534
Diplomatic representation from the US 
the US does not have an embassy in Tuvalu; the US ambassador to Fiji is accred to Tuvalu
Flag description 
light blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant; the outer half of the flag represents a map of the country with nine yellow five-pointed stars symbolizing the nine islands
Tuvalu

Economy

Economy - overview 
Tuvalu consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil. The country has no known mineral resources and few exports. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. Fewer than 1,000 tourists, on average, visit Tuvalu annually. Government revenues largely come from the sale of stamps and coins and worker remittances. About 1,000 Tuvaluans work in Nauru in the phosphate mining industry. Nauru has begun repatriating Tuvaluans, however, as phosphate resources decline. Substantial income is received annually from an international trust fund established in 1987 by Australia, NZ, and the UK and supported also by Japan and South Korea. Thanks to wise investments and conservative withdrawals, this Fund has grown from an initial $17 million to over $35 million in 1999. The US government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu, with 1999 payments from a 1988 treaty on fisheries at about $9 million, a total which is expected to rise annually. In an effort to reduce its dependence on foreign aid, the government is pursuing public sector reforms, including privatization of some government functions and personnel cuts of up to 7%. In 1998, Tuvalu began deriving revenue from use of its area code for "900" lines and in 2000, from the lease of its ".tv" Internet domain name. Royalties from these new technology sources could raise GDP substantially over the next decade. With merchandise exports only a fraction of merchandise imports, continued reliance must be placed on fishing and telecommunications license fees, remittances from overseas workers, official transfers, and investment income from overseas assets.
GDP 
purchasing power parity - $12.2 million (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 
3% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita 
purchasing power parity - $1,100 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector 
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Population below poverty line 
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share 
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
5% (2000 est.)
Labor force 
7,000 (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation 
people make a living mainly through exploitation of the sea, reefs, and atolls and from wages sent home by those abroad (mostly workers in the phosphate industry and sailors)
Unemployment rate 
NA%
Budget 
revenues: $22.5 million
expenditures: $11.2 million, including capital expenditures of $4.2 million (2000 est.)
Industries 
fishing, tourism, copra
Industrial production growth rate 
NA%
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: NA%
hydro: NA%
nuclear: NA%
other: NA%
Agriculture - products 
coconuts; fish
Exports 
$276,000 f.o.b. (1997)
Exports - commodities 
copra, fish
Exports - partners 
Sweden, Fiji, Iceland, Germany, Greece (2000)
Imports 
$7.2 million c.i.f. (1998)
Imports - commodities 
food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
Imports - partners 
Fiji, Australia, Portugal, NZ (2000)
Debt - external 
$NA
Economic aid - recipient 
$13 million (1999 est.); note - major donors are Japan, Australia, and the US (1999 est.)
Currency 
Australian dollar (AUD); note - there is also a Tuvaluan dollar
Currency code 
AUD
Exchange rates 
Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.9354 (January 2002), 1.9320 (2001), 1.7173 (2000), 1.5497 (1999), 1.5888 (1998), 1.3439 (1997)
Fiscal year 
calendar year
Tuvalu

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use 
1,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
0 (1994)
Telephone system 
general assessment: serves particular needs for internal communications
domestic: radiotelephone communications between islands
international: NA
Radio broadcast stations 
AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0 (1999)
Radios 
4,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
0 (1997)
Televisions 
800
Internet country code 
.tv
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
1 (2000)
Internet users 
NA
Tuvalu

Transportation

Railways 
0 km
Highways 
total: 19.5 km
paved: 0 km
unpaved: 19.5 km (2002)
Waterways 
none
Ports and harbors 
Funafuti, Nukufetau
Merchant marine 
total: 5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 31,021 GRT/52,198 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Germany 5 (2002 est.)
ships by type: cargo 3, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 1
Airports 
1 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2002)
Tuvalu

Military

Military branches 
no regular military forces; Police Force (includes Maritime Surveillance Unit for search and rescue missions and surveillance operations)
Military expenditures - dollar figure 
$NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 
NA%
Tuvalu

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
none

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