‘We received 236,000 visitors in our record year and that is not a huge number – Venice gets that many tourists in two days. We’re not about mass tourism – we are a slow tourism destination, a place to get away from the crowds.’
Last year, recovering from the effects of the pandemic, French Polynesia recorded 178,000 visits. If anything, the destination has set a limit rather than a target.
‘For the next few years we do not want to exceed the 280,000. We will look at it again in 2027 and if we have managed to spread the development around the islands we may look at it again. But we want to avoid putting too much pressure on one island, like Moorea or Bora Bora.’
Speaking at the Parau Parau Tahiti (PPT) travel trade show this week, Mocelin emphasised that Tahiti was not discouraging tourism development. ‘Smaller eco-lodges, pensions (guest houses) and the like – accommodation with 50, 30 rooms or even smaller – we would like to see more of that development.’