French Polynesia’s tourist office,Tahiti Tourisme, has launched a new tourism development strategy which is at the heart of its ambitious action plan to protect natural resources, maximise the benefits of tourism for the local population and prioritise a quality visitor experience.

Dubbed Fari’ira’a Manihini 2027 (or FM27), the development strategy which, aims to position French Polynesia (Tahiti and Its Islands) as a leading destination for inclusive and sustainable tourism over the next five years. This roadmap was co-constructed with the local population as well as public and private tourism stakeholders in a collaborative process initiated by the Ministry of Tourism for French Polynesia.

Fari’ira’a Manihini 2027 makes the preservation of the destination’s environment and culture top priorities, while enhancing the visitor experience. The economic and cultural needs of the people are at the heart of the strategic development of the territory, which is made up of 118 islands and atolls in the South Pacific. One of the main thrusts of the strategy is to manage the flow of tourists, which is expected to reach 280,000 visitors by 2027. This number would maintain the objective of a relative ratio of one inhabitant to one visitor, as the current population reaches 279,000 people. In 2019, French Polynesia recorded 236,000 tourists.

French Polynesia must remain ‘slow tourism’ destination

“Tahiti and its Islands must remain a “slow tourism” destination – a little piece of paradise with an exceptional service, focused on experiences, culture and encounters with the local population” according to Jean-Marc Mocellin, general manager of Tahiti Tourisme.

During the official launch of the project, the President of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch, recalled his particular attachment to responsible growth, focused on preserving and improving the environment, diversity and lifestyles of Polynesians.

“The objective of Fari’ira’a Manihini 2027 is to ensure that an authentic and sincere link is strengthened between those who come from elsewhere and those who welcome them,” told Fritch.

The ambition is to turn French Polynesia into a responsible destination favouring quality over quantity. The islands want to boost the length of stay and to better distribute the benefits and tourist flows on the various islands that have development potential in order to limit the pressure on the most frequented. This will also ease the pressure on the best-known islands, such as Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, while at the same time introducing the lesser-known, but no less beautiful and attractive islands, to holidaymakers. If successful, the programme would be reassessed again in 2027.

More than 95 actions and 40 sub-actions have been identified, ranging from waste management and the extension of WiFi networks to the development of eco-tourism parks and hiking trails.

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