30 Jul 2008

French Polynesia tourism in crisis after further drop in numbers

4:42 pm on 30 July 2008

Tourist numbers in French Polynesia dropped by a further 12 percent in June over the same time last year in what is now being described as the industry's worst crisis.

The most notable drop has been in the number of US visitors which has declined by 25 percent in part as a result of the fall in the value of the US dollar.

The hospitality industry says the Japanese yen has also fallen which has made Tahiti and its islands a very expensive destination.

Observers say for European travellers, the Seychelles, the Maldives and Caribbean islands offer similar things but at a lower cost.

They also say fuel price rises have hit the industry and with only Air Tahiti Nui and Air France linking the territory to the US and France, there is little competition.

The industry has also noted a drop in business for local activity providers, with the exception of diving which appears to have so far been spared by the downturn.