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French Polynesia Council of Ministers: Press Release

Review of the Titeti ‘Ai’a, domestic travel voucher scheme, as of October 2021

In February 2021, the destination The Islands of Tahiti was cut off from the flow of international tourists. To stimulate domestic consumption and support the country’s economy, measures have been put in place to stimulate domestic tourism. It is in this context that the implementation of the Titeti ‘Ai’a scheme began in April 2021.

Titeti ‘Ai’a, or “travel vouchers”, increases the purchasing power of residents of French Polynesia, up to 16,000 XPF per person, conditioned by a confirmed reservation for at least two people in commercial accommodation (land or floating, including a catering service or a crew) of two nights minimum in an establishment declared or listed with the tourism department.

This scheme is integrated into the country’s 2021-2023 recovery plan and the implementation and management have been entrusted to Tahiti Tourisme.

Almost 7 months after its application, a positive assessment is drawn from the device with:

  • 260 registered service providers, spread over the 5 archipelagos:
    o 161 accommodations (120 guest houses, 27 hotels, 13 nautical charter companies and 1 cruise company);
    o 99 activity providers.
  • 72, 783 million XPF in coupons;
  • 2,800 bookings processed, or 7,165 travelers.

    This is equivalent to the average figures of two Local Tourism Show.
    It should also be noted that this scheme mainly benefits remote archipelagos and more particularly the Tuamotu Islands with a breakdown of travelers as follows: Tumotu: 51.7%; Raromatai: 16.5%; Austral: 14.7%; Marquesas: 9.4%; Windward Islands: 4.4%; Gambier 3.9%.

    The ranking of the islands most visited by users of the voucher is as follows:

    1 Tikehau,
    2 Rangiroa,
    3 Fakarava,
    4 Rurutu,
    5 Mataiva,
    6 Bora Bora,
    7 Huahine,
    8 Hiva Oa,
    9 Makatea,
    10 Nuku Hiva

    Vouchers are mainly used for land-based accommodation, with 50% in guesthouses and almost 30% in hotels.

    On a selection of the 500 largest bookings the Council of Ministers notes that they generated 110 million XPF in turnover for French Polynesian companies, ie a ratio of 472 XPF for 100 XPF invested.

    This observation led the Council of Ministers to maintain the Titeti ‘Ai’a scheme until December 31, 2022 and to modify certain provisions of the deliberation framing the scheme.

Approval of the modification of the United Airlines flight schedule for the IATA Winter 2021-2022 season

The recent increase in demand, reflected in an increase in bookings on the Papeete – San Francisco route operated by United Airlines, caused an increase in booking rates in the first months of 2022. The airline’s loading rates are more than satisfactory for the 2021 end-of-year period. Indeed, United’s performance over the past seven weeks is above its 2019 level. In order to meet the increased demand, United has applied for a modification of its flight program in order to align with the situation.

The Council of Ministers approved the modification of United Airlines’ flight program for the IATA Winter 2021-2022 season.

The company currently operates 3 weekly flights on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. United Airlines wants to add operations on Monday and Wednesday starting in February 2022.

The operator has an extensive home network covering the entire United States. This very dense domestic network coupled with an efficient loyalty program open to all member companies of the Star Alliance represents a very important international air transport offer for tourism development in French Polynesia. The Star Alliance network represents 762 million passengers transported in 2019.

The clientele drawn by the American company is different from that of the other companies that serve French Polynesia. Indeed, it relies heavily on the strength of its loyalty program: United MileagePlus. The latter has more than 100 million members representing more than 50% of United’s flight revenue.
In addition, the American company can also count on its internal strength with nearly 100,000 employees with whom it offers incentive trips to French Polynesia.

The aircraft used remains unchanged since United will use a Boeing B787-900 and will offer 2 configurations:
• A configuration of 257 seats distributed as follows:
o 48 seats in business class;
o 21 seats in Eco-premium class;
o 188 seats in economy class;
• A configuration of 252 seats distributed as follows:
o 48 seats in business class;
o 204 seats in economy class

Approval of an exceptional grant to Air Tahiti Nui

With the closure of the Auckland and Narita routes, as well as the succession of restrictions on the Los Angeles and Paris routes, the Covid-19 pandemic has strongly impacted the activity of Air Tahiti Nui which was forced to a virtual complete shutdown of all of its flights during periods of lockdown and a drastic reduction in its rotations in degraded situations, severely impacting its turnover and reducing its ability to meet its fixed costs (rent, loans, etc.) .

Despite the drastic measures taken by the company as well as the safeguard measures put in place by the Government of French Polynesia and the French State to limit the impact of this crisis, Air Tahiti Nui’s situation remains fragile in the face of strong competition both at the air transport level than with the reopening of a competing destinations.

Recognizing the strategic nature of the company, which today transports 50% of tourists to French Polynesia and has ensured “human and economic” territorial continuity with France, the United States and New Zealand, the Council of Ministers has granted an exceptional grant to Air Tahiti Nui in the amount of 8.1 billion F CFP.

In return, the airline is committed to implementing an action plan to turn around and strengthen its economic performance over the next 4 years.

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