Tahiti deploys new initiatives in push to lure more Chinese visitors

By Yang Feiyue ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-05-27 07:51:15

Tahiti and its surrounding islands are striving for a bigger slice of the booming outbound tourism market in China.

To that end, the Tahiti tourism authority launched a series of road shows in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong province's Shenzhen in mid-May.

Then, representatives from Tahiti's travel agencies and hotel and resort operators from the islands met Chinese tourism market players at the events, which aimed to showcase the region's attractions and culture, says Gina Bunton, the chief operations officer with Tahiti's tourism authority.

Tahiti, which kicked off a global promotion push in 2016, is the biggest of 118 islands that form French Polynesia, and a pleasant climate, a rich history, towering rugged mountain peaks, polychromatic coral reefs, white beaches and swaying palms have drawn in an increasing number of Chinese visitors to the area.

In 2016, the French authorities in China granted 3,900 tourist visas to Polynesia, and the number is expected to reach almost 6,000 this year.

Meanwhile, France has streamlined the visa application process and opened more visa centers in China to make things easier for Chinese visitors.

Separately, the Tahiti tourism authorities have rolled out an official Chinese language tour guide last year, which gives details of all islands in the area. The guide also features language tips.

In other moves, many hotels have hired Chinese receptionists and cooks, says Bunton.

Tahiti has a Chinese community and traditional Chinese dragon and lion dances are staged there during the Spring Festival.

Tahiti and its neighboring islands have been named one of the most popular summer destinations by HHtravel, the high-end brand of China's biggest online travel agency Ctrip.

The number of rich Chinese who visited Tahiti increased by 55 percent last year compared to the previous year, and many enjoyed taking a helicopter into the heart-shaped Tupai.

Independent villas in the area are also popular with affluent travelers, and Brando, which is a nearby island escape surrounded by crystal-clear waters and white-sandy beaches, is a big hit with high-end visitors.

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