Wallis and Futuna Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Wallis and Futuna in 2024
Welcome to Wallis and Futuna

Wallis and Futuna country information

Wallis and Futuna is a French island in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of Fiji and west of Samoa.

Geography

Wallis and Futuna is a French overseas nation collectivity in the South Pacific Ocean. It consists of three main volcanic islands: Wallis, Futuna, and Alofi, as well as several smaller islets. The terrain is rugged and mountainous, with deep valleys and cliffs. The islands are bounded by coral reefs and lagoons, which support diverse marine life.

Climate

Wallis and Futuna have a tropical climate with high humidity throughout the year. The wet period lasts from November to April, with heavy rainfall and occasional cyclones. Warm temperatures and lower humidity from May to October characterize the dry season. Average temperatures range from 25°C to 30°C, with slight seasonal variation. The islands are also prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity, with the most recent eruption occurring on Wallis Island in 2021.

Population

Wallis and Futuna is a small territory with approximately 11,000 people. Most of the population is Polynesian, with Wallisians and Futunans being the two main ethnic groups. French is the official language, but Wallisian and Futunan are also widely spoken. The population is mainly Catholic, and the territory has a rich Polynesian culture, evident in its music, dance, and arts. The region has a low population density, with most people living in the capital, Mata-Utu, or small villages throughout the islands.

Religion

The majority of the population of Wallis and Futuna is Roman Catholic, which reflects the territory’s history of French colonization. However, traditional Polynesian beliefs and practices are also crucial to the culture. In addition, there is a small Protestant community on the islands. Religion plays a vital role in the daily life and customs of the Wallisian and Futunan people, with several religious festivals and celebrations held throughout the year.

Economy

Wallis and Futuna, a French overseas collectivity located in the South Pacific, has a small and relatively undeveloped economy. The territory’s remote location, limited resources, and a small population of around 11,000 contribute to its economic challenges. Most people are engaged in subsistence agriculture, fishing, and livestock farming. However, due to the limited arable land and lack of modern technology, these activities only provide a small fraction of the territory’s food needs. The settlement also depends heavily on financial assistance from France and the European Union and remittances from Wallisians and Futunans living abroad. Despite the challenges, the government of Wallis and Futuna has made efforts to diversify the economy, mainly through promoting tourism and attracting foreign investment.

Culture

Wallis and Futuna have a rich Polynesian culture, evident in their music, dance, and arts. Traditional Polynesian dance, known as the Lakalaka, is a popular form of entertainment often performed during cultural festivals and ceremonies. The territory also has a strong Catholic influence, reflected in its architecture and customs. The architects of many island churches blended Polynesian and European styles to create a distinctive architectural style. The territory also has a strong oral storytelling tradition, with myths and legends passed down through generations. Additionally, handicrafts such as weaving and carving are still practiced, with many artisans producing intricate works that reflect the islands’ unique cultural heritage.

Language

Wallis and Futuna have two official languages, French and Wallisian. French is the language of administration, education, and business, while Wallisian, a Polynesian language, is the indigenous language on Wallis Island. Futunan, another Polynesian language, is also widely spoken on Futuna Island. French missionaries developed the Wallisian language’s unique script in the 19th century. The government promotes using Wallisian and Futunan to preserve the territory’s cultural heritage. However, French is still the dominant language in most aspects of public life.

Tourism

Wallis and Futuna is an idyllic destination for travelers seeking a peaceful and remote Polynesian experience. The territory boasts several stunning beaches, coral reefs, and lagoons, making it a haven for diving, snorkeling, and other water activities. Visitors can also explore the territory’s lush rainforests, volcanic landscapes, and traditional villages. The culture and customs of Wallisians and Futunans are distinct from those of other Polynesian islands, with a strong emphasis on community and respect for elders. Traditional dances, music, and crafts are also an essential part of local culture and can be experienced by visitors.

Recent History

Wallis and Futuna, a French overseas collectivity, has a history of colonization by European powers. In 1959, the territory became an overseas territory of France, and later, in 2003, it was officially designated as a French overseas collectivity. In 2017, a territorial reform was implemented, resulting in the creation of three administrative subdivisions. Wallis and Futuna have been relatively isolated and politically stable, with a traditional monarchy system still in place. However, there have been some social and economic challenges, including a high unemployment rate and issues related to environmental degradation.

Government

Wallis and Futuna is an abroad collectivity of France, which means the French government governs it. The territory is headed by a Prefect, who represents the French President and is responsible for managing the territory’s affairs. The local administration is led by a Territorial Administrator, who the French government appoints. The domain has a unicameral Territorial Assembly, which serves as the legislative body and comprises 20 members elected for a five-year term.

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The best period to visit Wallis and Futuna is between May and October when the weather and mild temperatures are dry.

The official languages of Wallis and Futuna are French and Wallisian (a Polynesian language).

The official currency of Wallis and Futuna is the CFP Franc (XPF), also used in other French territories in the South Pacific.

Most visitors to Wallis and Futuna do not need a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. However, checking with your country’s French embassy or consulate is recommended to confirm if you need a visa based on your nationality.

Some top tourist attractions in Wallis and Futuna include the Mata-Utu Cathedral, the Lake Lalolalo crater, and the Alofi Island nature reserve.

The transportation system in Wallis and Futuna is limited, with no public transportation available.