The tourist industry is central in the economy of French Polynesia.
It thus represents the first exported own resource of French Polynesia, with revenue in the order of XPF 70.6 billion, i.e. 11% of the Country’s GDP in 2019.
This sector totals more than 3,652 businesses (i.e. 12% of the Polynesian businesses) which generate 18% of the local businesses’ total revenue, with about 12,000 employees (i.e. 18% of the salaried workforce).
Map of the world with the main outbound markets
International air transportation
The objective is to open the French Polynesian sky. The Country has already initiated aeronautical discussions with the United States, China, Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Direct flights are operated from Tahiti to Japan (Tokyo), the United States (Los Angeles and San Francisco), New Zealand (Auckland), the Cook Islands (Rarotonga), Hawaii (Honolulu), Easter Island (Rapa Nui) and secondary connections to Europe via Los Angeles then Paris or London, Mexico via Los Angeles, Australia (Sydney) via Auckland and South America (Chile) via Easter Island.
Accommodation accounts for 40% of tourist spending approximately.
At the end of 2019, the hotel base comprised 46 establishments with a total of 2,755 units (for a capacity of 6,673 visitors), of which 86% of the hotels are located in Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea for an average occupancy rate of 69.2% for all categories combined. 19 hotels are rated 4 and 5 stars and offer 1,732 units. Bora Bora accounts for 32% of the offer. 744 tourism brands and 296 family guest-houses (i.e. a capacity of 1,319 units for 3,913 visitors) supplementing the hospitality offer.
For the most part, hotels are made up of traditional Polynesian-style bungalows, with the obligation for 4-star plus hotels to use pandanus in their structures.
As to small family hotel structures, they are many throughout the island groups and welcome visitors in a family atmosphere, quite typical of traditional Polynesian hospitality.
Cruising and sailboat charter
French Polynesia has always been a land of welcome for travelers arriving by sea. Its protected environment and high-end port infrastructures make it a first-choice destination for ships and sailboats based in its hospitable island waters.
Cruising and sailboat charter generate substantial revenue, thus contributing to the promotion of the image of Tahiti and her islands throughout the world.
During the last decade, French Polynesia has made cruise tourism a priority for its development. With its two spur wharves in the harbor, the Port of Papeete is a genuine international cruise port, capable of receiving four cruise ships simultaneously, whether on call or based in French Polynesia. Also, the objective of a planned construction of an international cruise terminal is: increased base port capacities and improved handling of arrivals and departures.
A booming sector, boat charter is a choice alternative to traditional hotel stays and has the government of French Polynesia’s full attention and support. The fleet is constantly modernized and offers various ways to discover the Polynesian archipelagoes. To date, the fleet comprises 80 ships and sailboats, offering services to more and more international clients choosing to explore the islands on the lagoon side.