25 Oct 2012

Tahiti tourism drive needs context, says tourism head

4:06 pm on 25 October 2012

The Chairman of the Tahiti Tourism, Hiria Ottino, says president Oscar Temaru's controversial proposal to host tourists in French Polynesia for free had not been put properly into context.

The 'Welcome Home' campaign advocates people house tourists at no cost to them.

It had been proposed as a way of hosting tourists expected for the Tahiti Nui marathon next month and the Beach Soccer World Cup next year.

The initiative has not been received well by local tourism operators, and the head of the Hotel Federation called it pathetic.

Mr Ottino says the aim of the campaign is to enhance the tourist experience for visitors:

"The president and the mayor of Faa'a wants to stress the importance of tourism, so what is better to ask the local population to greet the tourists at home to make this point available?"

Tahiti sees about 165,000 tourists a year and has about 3,000 hotel rooms.