11 Dec 2007

Stagnant tourism numbers in French Polynesia ahead of possible drop

4:35 pm on 11 December 2007

Hoteliers in French Polynesia say they feel the impact of fewer visitors to the territory.

Tourist numbers have dropped by one percent in October this year compared to the same month last year and the outlook for the first quarter of 2008 is also negative, with some figures suggesting a 20 percent drop.

The general manager of the territory's Le Meridien says the largest loss is in visitor numbers from the United States.

Dominic Michaud attributes this to the dollar exchange rate, as well as a lack of nightlife.

Mr Michaud says the problem must be addressed quickly.

"We need to work on different markets. We don't have the choice now to select one or the other market. For that we need to build maybe a five years plan to see what's missing in the destination and in which market we want to grow. Most important for us is that everybody is working on the same direction from politics to professionals."

Dominic Michaud

The room division manager of the Sheraton in Moorea, Rose Richmond, shares the same concern.