Tahiti hotels decry travel restrictions

1:03 pm on 2 June 2020

Hotel professionals in French Polynesia have warned that excessive protection measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic will kill tourism.

Air Tahiti Nui's new jet, a Boeing Dreamliner, in Tahiti

Photo: Supplied

Thierry Brovelli, who is a top industry representative, said the current quarantine provisions would also hit people's health because within months the social service agency would be broke.

Anyone arriving in French Polynesia has to be isolated for two weeks.

Officials said up to 20,000 jobs were at risk and 67,000 people had no unemployment insurance.

Some hotels have closed for good while others were waiting for international air travel to restart.

To revive the tourism sector, there had been suggestions to experiment with a so-called corridor to exempt high-end tourists from the current regime so that they could reach more exclusive resorts in Bora Bora or Tetiaroa.

Mr Brovelli said that was too restrictive and many potential travellers would either defer or cancel their trips.

The Tourism Minister Nicole Bouteau said the borders needed to be opened or French Polynesia would be economically strangled as tourism earned the territory more than $US600 million a year.

A representative for internal tourism Melinda Bodin told AFP that French Polynesians, who spend about $US100 million a year on trips to California, Hawaii and New Zealand, could travel domestically.

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