22 Oct 2012

Temaru's Tahiti tourism plan labelled pathetic

2:31 pm on 22 October 2012

There has been a negative reaction in French Polynesian tourism circles to President Oscar Temaru's proposal for people to host tourists for free.

Last week, Mr Temaru surprised the public by launching a campaign with the slogan "Welcome Home', saying there was not enough tourist accommodation.

He says hosting tourists for free will offer a great cultural exchange and people would no longer leave with the impression that Tahiti was expensive.

The head of the Hotel Federation, Franck Guillot, has told local media that the idea is pathetic and that tourism should be handled by professionals.

The association of family hotels has been equally dismissive, saying this would make it unfair to impose control and taxes on establishments.

Tourism's long decline in Tahiti has bottomed out but arrival figures are as low as in the 1990s.