May 24, 2024

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Built General Tough

JM. Mocellin: “the current critical health situation forces us to delay our actions”

“As long as the number of cases continues to increase exponentially, it becomes very difficult to sell Tahiti and her islands” (© DR)

After a year 2020 and the beginning of 2021 affected by the Covid pandemic, tourism had taken off again in June. Is the current Covid outbreak in fenua jeopardizing the activity of the sector for the weeks, if not months, to come? How, under these conditions, to communicate on the Polynesia destination while the restrictive measures are intensifying? Interview with Jean-Marc Mocellin, Managing Director of Tahiti Tourisme, questioned before the new restrictive measures announced Thursday evening.

How is the tourism sector behaving in the face of the Covid outbreak?

For now, hotels and guesthouses are showing very good occupancy rates up to and including September. Rates exceeding 80% and many are sold out. As for the airlines, the flight occupancy rate stands at around 70%, with more occupancy coming from the United States.

However, given the exponential evolution of the number of cases and its media coverage, not to mention the classification of French Polynesia by the United States at level 4, thus advising against stays in our islands, this is starting to cause many cancellations.

Is the curfew a big blow to this industry?

The curfew is not in itself an obstacle for tourism, a lockdown will affect the sector much more. Our fear is to reach a situation similar to Guadeloupe where they ask tourists to return home.

Another aspect that will be able to affect us are the new border restriction measures on foreign markets which will undoubtedly harden again, such as imposing a quarantine on tourists returning home. Borders may remain open but tourists will no longer travel.

For Tahiti Tourisme, how do we communicate about the destination when the virus is circulating massively on the territory?

At the local level, we must not forget that, unlike in previous months, it is becoming difficult to promote domestic tourism which could be a factor in the spread of the virus locally.

Internationally, we had supported the gradual reopening from last May, notably via an international communication campaign “Ready to roll out the Red Carpet” (“RDV dans nos îles” for the French version) in our markets. accessible (US and Europe) to invite travelers back.

The results were very positive given the occupancy rates announced above, we even had to slow down our communication efforts in the United States, so the response in requests for stay was strong and due to the lack of available accommodation facilities. . We are already ready to launch international communication campaigns from September to help book stays at the end of the year and during the low season, but the current critical health situation is forcing us to delay our actions. As the number of cases continues to increase exponentially, it becomes very difficult to sell Tahiti and her islands.

How do you adapt?

We have an intensive week of work with our representatives on the markets in ten days, the opportunity to take stock of mid-year and readjust the actions to come for 2021 and 2022.

In addition, we work on a daily basis with the distribution network (TO and travel agents) and direct travelers (in the markets or on site in our islands) for a good understanding of our entry protocols which are constantly evolving and to reassure them. Several tools have been developed such as market intelligence or an information platform on the status of the Polynesian tourism sector intended for tourism professionals.

While the number of tourists detected positive on arrival is extremely low (2 per 1,000 passengers), Tahiti Tourisme also assists travelers detected positive during their stay before their return home to help them find accommodation and organize their isolation. in Tahiti.

The strategy and the priority for now is to convince everyone to get vaccinated and to promote it, this is what Fiji is doing for example, which promotes establishments that are 100% vaccinated and where vaccination can be made compulsory in companies.

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