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The Islands of Tahiti details five-year sustainable tourism plan

Tahiti’s Aranui 5 carries only around 230 passengers, as well as freight, and is well below the capacity limit for cruise ships
French Polynesia's Ministry of Tourism released a five-year strategy on Wednesday to ‘protect natural resources, benefit the local population and preserve the highest quality visitor experience.’

The Fari’ira’a Manihini 2027 document aims to put a ceiling on the number of tourists to the destination, with a ratio of one inhabitant to one visitor at any time.

That would mean 282,534 tourists, according to last year’s official population report.  

In 2019, Tahiti had a record 236,000 visitors

The strategy was drawn up after consultation with the local population, as well as public and private stakeholders.

'Slow tourism' destination

‘The Islands of Tahiti should remain a slow tourism destination, a little corner of paradise with exceptional service focusing on experiences, culture and encounters with the local population,’ Jean-Marc Mocellin, CEO of Tahiti Tourisme, said.

‘With the international reputation of The Islands of Tahiti, we are fortunate we are not yet a mass tourism destination,’ Mocellin said.

‘The anticipated increase in tourist activity has revealed a need to adopt a form of tourism that is both sustainable and targeted.’

French Polynesia President Edouard Fritch said the strategy is based on the preservation and improvement of the way of life of the local population, in each of the territories, which contributes to the diversity of The Islands of Tahiti. 

Fritch said the framework of the five-year plan is to ‘ensure that an authentic and sincere bond is strengthened between those who come from elsewhere and those who agree to welcome them.’

Infrastructure improvements

The government’s policy is to spread the flow of tourists and the financial benefits among the islands by implementing infrastructure improvements and investments.

This would ease the pressure on the best-known destinations, like Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, while exposing lesser-known but no less beautiful islands that make up The Islands of Tahiti. 

This creates an opportunity for passengers in expedition ships to explore these remote regions in Zodiacs. 

If the plan is successful, the limit on the number of tourists may be reviewed in 2027.    

Cruise ship limit

The strategy follows the ban on cruise ships carrying more than 3,500 passengers from the start of this year, earlier reported here, as it was stated that larger vessels place too much stress on maritime infrastructure and the environment. 

The destination is also committed to follow the tourism strategy established by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council for the Pacific Tourism Organisation, of which The Islands of Tahiti is a member.

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