Mandatory quarantine lifted in Tahiti as tourist flights begin

3:01 pm on 16 July 2020

French Polynesia has lifted the seven-day mandatory quarantine for incoming travellers to boost its struggling tourism sector.

Air Tahiti ATR

Air Tahiti ATR Photo: supplied

Passengers on a flight from France which landed today had to prove they were Covid-19 negative 72 hours before departure - they will have to self-test for the virus in four days.

From tomorrow French Polynesia will receive its first tourists from the United States since March as Air Tahiti Nui resumes its Los Angeles service .

Since last weekend all travellers to Tahiti must be registered and cleared via an online registration system.

President Edouard Fritch acknowledged that the Covid-19 crisis had worsened in the US but told La Depeche that if French Polynesia didn't open up the consequences would be catastrophic.

He said it was a hard decision to make, adding there was a probability that there would be more Covid-19 cases.

The president admitted there were risks but said he assumed responsibility.

Edouard Fritch

Edouard Fritch Photo: Supplied/ Présidence de la Polynésie française

As the territory opens up for international travel , an estimated 3000 visitors are expected in French Polynesia by the end of this month.

A further 7,000 visitors are expected in August coinciding with France's summer holiday.

French Polynesia's move to open up to tourists again comes despite a decree from Paris to ban air travel to and from many of its overseas territories in order to counter the pandemic.

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