Oceania is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern and western hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of 8,525,989 square kilometres (3,291,903 sq mi) and a population of 42 million. Situated in the southeast of the Asia-Pacific region, Oceania, when compared to continental regions, is the smallest in land area and the second smallest in population after Antarctica.
Oceania has a diverse mix of economies from the highly developed and globally competitive financial markets of Australia and New Zealand, which rank high in quality of life and human development index, to the much less developed economies that belong to countries such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, while also including medium-sized economies of Pacific islands such as Palau, Fiji and Tonga. The largest and most populous country in Oceania is Australia, with Sydney being the largest city of both Oceania and Australia.
The first settlers of Australia, New Guinea, and the large islands just to the east arrived more than 60,000 years ago. Oceania was first explored by Europeans from the 16th century onward. Portuguese navigators, between 1512 and 1526, reached the Tanimbar Islands, some of the Caroline Islands and west Papua New Guinea. On his first voyage in the 18th century, James Cook, who later arrived at the highly developed Hawaiian Islands, went to Tahiti and followed the east coast of Australia for the first time. The Pacific front saw major action during the Second World War, mainly between Allied powers the United States and Australia, and Axis power Japan.
The arrival of European settlers in subsequent centuries resulted in a significant alteration in the social and political landscape of Oceania. In more contemporary times there has been increasing discussion on national flags and a desire by some Oceanians to display their distinguishable and individualistic identity. The rock art of Australian Aborigines is the longest continuously practiced artistic tradition in the world. Puncak Jaya in Papua is the highest peak in Oceania at 4,884 metres. Most Oceanian countries have a parliamentary representative democratic multi-party system, with tourism being a large source of income for the Pacific Islands nations.
Tourists mostly come from Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Fiji currently draws almost half a million tourists each year; more than a quarter from Australia. This contributes $1 billion or more since 1995 to Fiji’s economy but the Government of Fiji islands underestimate these figures due to invisible economy inside tourism industry.
Vanuatu is widely recognised as one of the premier vacation destinations for scuba divers wishing to explore coral reefs of the South Pacific region. Tourism has been promoted, in part, by Vanuatu being the site of several reality-TV shows. The ninth season of the reality TV series Survivor was filmed on Vanuatu, entitled Survivor: Vanuatu – Islands of Fire. Two years later, Australia’s Celebrity Survivor was filmed at the same location used by the US version.
Tourism in Australia is an important component of the Australian economy. In the financial year 2014/15, tourism represented 3% of Australia’s GDP contributing A$47.5 billion to the national economy. In 2015, there were 7.4 million visitor arrivals. Popular Australian destinations include the Sydney Harbour (Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Royal Botanic Garden, etc.), Gold Coast (theme parks such as Warner Bros. Movie World, Dreamworld and Sea World), Walls of Jerusalem National Park and Mount Field National Park in Tasmania, Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, The Twelve Apostles in Victoria, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the Australian outback.
Tourism in New Zealand contributes NZ$7.3 billion (or 4%) of the country’s GDP in 2013, as well as directly supporting 110,800 full-time equivalent jobs (nearly 6% of New Zealand’s workforce). International tourist spending accounted for 16% of New Zealand’s export earnings (nearly NZ$10 billion). International and domestic tourism contributes, in total, NZ$24 billion to New Zealand’s economy every year. Tourism New Zealand, the country’s official tourism agency, is actively promoting the country as a destination worldwide. Milford Sound in South Island is acclaimed as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination.
In 2003 alone, according to state government data, there were over 6.4 million visitors to the Hawaiian Islands with expenditures of over $10.6 billion. Due to the mild year-round weather, tourist travel is popular throughout the year. In 2011, Hawaii saw increasing arrivals and share of foreign tourists from Canada, Australia and China increasing 13%, 24% and 21% respectively from 2010.
Australia and New Zealand are both former British colonies. At one time it was envisaged that the two colonies would become a single country. In the past, Papua New Guinea was a United Nations trusteeship, administered by Australia. Various islands have been annexed by Britain, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Australia and the United States.
The presence of all of these cultures has created an influence on aspects of culture norms and development. In many areas at least one, often more indigenous languages, and the languages of one or more of the colonial powers, are spoken by the majority as people have coexisted or joined with the influx of other cultures. This mix has influenced cuisine, architecture and other facets of culture.
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Via : Wikipedia