Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chapter 7: Industrial and Commercial Organization

As a small island with limited resources, Bora Bora is not industrialized and has not agriculturally advanced. With its limited size it does not possess the labor or raw materials to industrialize. Furthermore, its economy is based on tourism and does not export many items. The major industry of the island is tourism and thus the main focus is on activities that will continue to attract people. Although Bora Bora has a limited wildlife, its marine life is exquisite. There is a variety of fish and marine mammals, such as the dolphin. The island’s beautiful lagoon is the sight of many attractions. Tourists can go snorkeling and witness sharks and stingrays firsthand. People can also ride a canoe and enjoy a sunny day while observing the different marine life in the water. Furthermore, people can enjoy the warm and clear waters by going inside the water. People can also explore the island off-road on a 4-wheel drive adventure or overhead on a helicopter.

Snorkeling is a popular activity in Bora Bora.

Beautiful view of the island from the reef.
Although it might seem dangerous, people are allowed to snorkel next to sharks.


Chapter 6: Agriculture, Gathering, and Extractive Industries

Bora Bora is a small island and thus has limited resources. As a result, the island relies mainly on importing its products. The island’s agriculture is very limited and its most valuable item is the coconut because it is used to make copra which is then used for creating coconut oil. The island of Tupai is part of Bora Bora and is exclusively used for growing coconuts. Since the island was born from the molten lava of Mount Otemanu, livestock is also very limited. The little wildlife that does exist is a result of foreign people bringing them over. Horses, cows, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats and rats are some of the few animals that can be found. Much of its importation of vegetables, fruit and meat comes from nearby Papeete.

Coconuts being sundried in order to make copra.


Chapter 5: Political Geography

Bora Bora is made up of two islands, although the second one (Tupai) is known as a coconut plantation island and has only about 50 people. The major settlement and administrative settlement of the island is Vaitape. The island is an administrative subdivision of the Leeward Islands which is part of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. Therefore, it is a commune of French Polynesia. As a territory of France, the politics of Bora Bora is based on a parliamentary representative democracy where the head of the government is the president of French Polynesia. The Assembly of French Polynesia is the unicameral legislature and representatives are elected by popular vote. There are six constituencies (the Leeward Islands are one) and representation is based on population. Since the Leeward Islands have a small population compared to the rest of the constituencies they only have a few representatives, which presently are eight out of a total 57. Bora Bora’s significance as a major tourist attraction brings in major revenue and since it is the second most populous island of the Leeward Islands it comprises a major part of its constituency.

Map of Bora Bora and the Leeward Islands.

Map of the Society Islands.

Map of French Polynesia.


Chapter 4: Populaiton Geographies since 1950

After 1950, the island’s reputation as a vacation get-away greatly prospered. As a result, many people came to visit and brought great income to the island. The population has not increased dramatically because of the island’s limited capacity, but has increased since 1950 due to its high attraction. According to the census of 2007, the population is 8880 which is about 233 people per square kilometer. The population continues to be mostly Polynesian, while French and the many Polynesian dialects continue to be the main languages, although English has become common due to high American tourists. The currency of the island is the franc, while most of the population continuous to be Protestant or Catholic.

Resorts like this are where the tourist population reside.


Chapter 3: Settlement Patterns before 1950

European explorers first sighted and explored Bora Bora in 1722. England established a Protestant church in 1822 and was made a protectorate of France in 1888 after the annexation of French Polynesia. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, however, Polynesian chiefs ruled the island. Many of the first Europeans stayed, but the island was and continuous to be mostly populated by Polynesians. Therefore, the languages spoken were and continue to be French and Polynesian dialects. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States used the island as a military base, but did not see any combat. After the war was over, many Americans stayed because they loved the island. Prior to 1950 there has been no heavy industrialization and the islands inhabitants has depended on its natural resources (vanilla and mainly coconuts) for exports, while importing a majority of its products.


Chapter 2: Physical Features

Bora Bora was born from a volcano about 7 million years ago. That volcano is Mount Otemanu which is the highest point of the island. The area of the island is about 38 square kilometers and is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. The beautiful waters are perfect for scuba diving, and sightseeing is also popular due to its wonderful landscape. The climate of the island is tropical and has a wet and dry season. The wet season is between November and April and is considered the “off-season” for tourism, although the temperature is warmer (27 – 30 Celsius) compared to the dry season (24 – 28 Celsius). As a tropical region, Bora Bora experiences plenty of rainfall: 180 centimeters per year. ¾ of the rainfall, however, occur during the wet season as the dry season’s rainy days are rare.

Mt. Otemanu is in the middle of the island and the reefs surround it.

View of Mt. Otemanu from the lagoon.


Chapter 1: Intro

Bora Bora is my dream vacation spot and thus wanted to give everyone a picture of why this is such a beautiful place. It is a French territory located about 160 miles northwest of Tahiti and 2,600 miles south of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. The island is about an hour flight from the island of Tahiti and is known as a tourist island. The original name in the Tahitian language was Pora Pora and meant “first born.” It is arguably the most beautiful island in the world.