More amazing accommodations are opening in Tahiti

Tahiti tourism continues its comeback in the post-pandemic era, with new resorts, private villas, guest houses and cruises coming on stream.

They are meeting a strong international demand for holiday space and time in the islands of French Polynesia. They are doing so while the country’s tourism administrators are studying the potential impacts of over-tourism, and devising ways to meet these challenges.

Updates on new additions to the tourism infrastructure, plus news on the work to more closely manage inbound tourism, were tabled by Jean-Marc Mocellin, the CEO of Tahiti Tourisme, during a recent promotional mission to Vancouver. He met with Baxter Media’s Ted Davis.

In his presentation, he noted that 237 new hotel rooms were opening in 2024, including the Niu Beach Hotel Moorea with 16 rooms, the Westin Bora Bora in Q3 with 142 rooms, the Hotel Maitai Tahiti in June with 63 rooms, the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort in Q4 with 37 rooms and the Apatoa Raiatea with 16 rooms.

New hotel product coming soon

In 2025, there will be 285 additional rooms, including 43 rooms at the Kauhani Inn Tahiti, 149 rooms at the Tahiti Lagoon (Sofitel) and 56 rooms at the Punui Tahiti Iti.

The hotel capacity is recovering slowly and Moorea island is still under capacity, said Mocellin. But Tahitian guest houses are back to 2019 capacity. The CEO also described a digital campaign partnership with Air Tahiti Nui specifically for Canada that has been designed to increase bookings on their flights from gateways in the United States, including LAX and SEA.

The airline operates daily flight to Tahiti’s capital of Papeete on daily basis from Los Angeles, and twice weekly from Seattle. It takes about eight hours to fly from LAX to Tahiti-Faa’a airport. The Air Tahiti Nui campaign is in-market until the end of June and has already resulted in 250-plus bookings, says Tahiti Tourisme.

Managing overtourism

Meanwhile, work continues on efforts to curb any negative effects of over-tourism, while maintaining the economic health of the tourism industry in French Polynesia.

Most inbound source markets have exceeded 2022 arrivals numbers by up to 20%, and 2023 set an all time record for arrivals, says Tahiti Tourisme. Visitors from France and the United States account for the great majority of arrivals, at about 76.5% of the total, while Canada accounts for about three per cent.

Efforts to manage inbound tourism numbers are governed by a maxim to “analyze, prioritize, coordinate and control the development of accommodation in French Polynesia to meet the market expectations, the economic needs and the investors interest in respect of the population acceptability.”

Formalized at the end of 2022, a five-year strategy (2023 – 2027) has been developed in collaboration with the local population, tourism professionals and the government.  Focused on inclusive and sustainable tourism for progressive and responsible development, it uses global sustainable tourism criteria on social-economic, cultural and environmental pillars, says Tahiti Tourisme.