Tahiti, French Polynesia
North American traffic to Tahiti is on the rise and 2014 is off to a great start.
In 2009, Tahiti had 45,000 North American visitors. By 2013, that number had risen to 61,100 with the U.S. share increasing by 32 percent and growth of 3 to 5 percent is expected for this year. On average, U.S. guests stay in Tahiti for 10 nights, while Canadians stay for 12.
Three cruise lines serve Tahiti – Paul Gauguin, Princess and Oceania. Paul Gauguin sails year-round, Princess does six to 10 cruises per year and Oceania, the newest and largest of the lines, does five to six turns per year. This year, the islands are poised to see more sea traffic as Windstar heads to Tahiti for six months and Silversea spends November and December in the area. Regent Seven Seas will also be sailing in Tahiti this year.
One of the largest challenges Tahiti faces in terms of growing in visitor traffic is the perception that it is prohibitively far away from the North American mainland. In reality, it is an eight-hour flight from Los Angeles, and is in the same time zone as Hawaii.
Headquartered in Papeete, Tahiti, Air Tahiti Nui operates five A-340-300 aircraft from its Tahiti base to Auckland, New Zealand; Tokyo, Japan; Paris, and Los Angeles. From L.A., the airline offers two flights to the island daily from June to October and a total of 350,000 seats per year. Codeshare agreements with other airlines (including American) have boosted the airline’s reach to 19 U.S. cities. Recently, there is a large amount of interest from the East Coast.
Currently, 70 percent of Air Tahiti Nui bookings to Tahiti are through agents and tour operators. Why is this? If you don’t have the experience and knowledge of the islands, you can’t create the same experience.
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