Tuvalu Fact Sheet

Airlines: Air Marshall connects Tuvalu with its international routes. There are connections from Nadi and Suva in Fiji, and Majuro in the Marshall Islands.

Airport: Tuvalu International Airport is on Funafuti islet.

Banking: The National Bank opens from 9.30-1pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.30am-midday on Friday.

Communication: The post and Telecom centres are both near the airport in Vaiaku. Telecom has a public fax (20 800) and telex (1800). There is also a public phone outside the Telecom office and phonecards are available from the office and Vaiaku Lagi Hotel (local phone cards are considered a collectable item). The Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau at the southern end of town has some of the most sought-after stamps in the world. The monthly national newspaper - Tuvalu Echoes - is published in English & Tuvaluan. There is no local TV but there is a 24hr satellite TV service free of charge. Radio Tuvalu broadcasts in both English and Tuvaluan.

Consulates: There are no overseas representatives in Tuvalu apart from Taiwan.

Currency: The Australian dollar.

Departure Tax: Passengers must pay a tax of A$20 on departure.

Dress: Dress is casual, although women are advised not to wear brief clothing (covering up to below the knee is best).

Driving: Driving is on the left side of the road, although motorcyles and mopeds are the most popular means of transport. Roads are not signed and are often potholed.

Electricity: 240 volts, 60Hz.

Entry Requirements: No visas are required with a valid passport and onward or return ticket. Entry permits are granted for one month and are renewable for up to 3 months.

Food: The emphasis is on local fish and tropical foods. There are licensed bar and dining facilities at major hotels and restaurants.

Health: Tuvalu is malaria-free, although a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers coming from infected areas. Tuvalu's only water supply is rainwater stored in tanks, so unbottled water should always be boiled. There is no organised sewerage disposal.

Language: Tuvaluan and English. A separate dialect is still spoken on Nui, which was settled by groups of warriors from Kiribati.

Medical Services: There is a general hospital on Funafuti. Full medical and dental services are available. The outer islands have limited facilities and medical supplies.
Politics: Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, Tuvalu was granted independence from Kiribati (the former Gilbert Islands) in 1975, and from the UK on 1 October 1978. Today, it is a hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. The governor general is appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister. The prime minister and deputy prime minister are elected from the members of parliament.

Religion: Christianity is the dominant religion, represented by the Church of Tuvalu (97%). Other religions include Seventh-Day Adventist and Baha'i. The church exerts a strong influence in the community.

Shopping: There is a limited range of shops selling handcrafts, clothing and general merchandise on Funafuti. The outer islands each have a Co-operative Society (Fusi). Local crafts are considered some of the best in the Pacific, and outlets sell traditional fans, mats, baskets, necklaces carvings and fish hooks.

Sport and Recreation: Snorkelling, swimming and fishing are the main activities in Tuvalu, but other options include cycling, birdwatching, beachcombing, reef walking and shell collecting. There is a multi-purpose court for tennis, volleyball or basketball.

Tipping: Tipping is optional but is not expected.

Transport (domestic): Minibuses run around the island and can be flagged down on the road. They cost 20c each way to the main wharf. Cycles, mopeds and motorbikes are available for hire and there is also a taxi service on Funafuti.

Visitor Information:
Tuvalu Tourism
Private Bag
Funafuti
Tuvalu