French Polynesia is after rich tourists

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French Polynesia’s new tourism minister has no doubt about the islands’ target to reverse a slump in visitor numbers: millionaires.

“The core target must be millionaires, people who have lots of money,” Steeve (Steeve) Hamblin said after his recent appointment by the French territory’s new president Gaston Song Tang.

“That will attract a much broader consumer target – tourists who have less means and will go to the small hotel industry.”

Hamblin described the latest tourist statistics as very bad.

Figures for September showed a nine-month total of 118,625 visitors, which was 31,770 or 21.1% fewer than the same period last year, the French Polynesia Statistical Institute reported.

International hotels in Tahiti, Bora Bora and other major islands had an average occupancy rate of 45% during those nine months, down by 7.8%.

Leading resorts in French Polynesia, attracting wealthy tourists from France and the United States, are among the costliest in the region.