23 Feb 2010

New Caledonia tourism figures at 15-year low

4:06 pm on 23 February 2010

Tourism figures in New Calenonia for last year show that numbers dropped below 100,000 for the first time in 15 years.

Statistics show that the four-percent drop was identical to the global tourism downturn last year.

Visitors from the main market France were 13 percent fewer but significant growth was registered in the small South Korean market.

The downturn has reportedly left the Meridien Hotel in Noumea with its worst year since its opening, registering an occupancy rate of no more than 40 percent.

Noumea's daily newspaper notes that for the first time neighbouring Vanuatu has had more tourists than New Caledonia, putting the trend down to more low cost flights from Australia to Port Vila.

The paper also says New Caledonians travel in larger numbers and account for more passengers at Tontouta airport than tourists.