As international tourism paves its long road to recovery, the Islands of Tahiti offer visitors a glimpse of what a ‘new normal’ might mean.
The Islands of Tahiti are preparing to reopen their doors to international visitors from July 15, 2020.
Regarded by many as the ultimate honeymoon destination, French Polynesia has recorded no active cases of COVID-19 since May 29. The news brings welcome relief for the country’s extensive tourism and resort industry, the largest contributor to French Polynesia’s economy. Resorts, cruise ships, airports, restaurants, and other tourism providers will use the time until re-opening to implement new safeguards designed to protect locals and visitors to the romantic South Pacific nation, and keep COVID-19 at bay.
The Islands of Tahiti are among the world’s most evocative and romantic destinations, with warm temperatures throughout the year, plus blue lagoons and lush, green islands offering a wide range of activities. Like the rest of the world, these idyllic islands have been closed to tourists since the outbreak of COVID-19. Its few international visitors during this time have been required to quarantine in Papeete, the capital city, for a period of 14 days prior to entering French Polynesia proper. This is one of many restrictions that will be lifted on July 15.
Tourists visiting the Islands of Tahiti after that date will have to take a few additional steps to be admitted to the country, and to ensure their safety and that of locals. Travel insurance, plus a confirmed negative test result for COVID-19 will be essential prior to departure for French Polynesia. Passengers with an immunity certificate proving recovery from COVID-19 will be exempt from these measures. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has adopted its own measures to ensure passenger and employee health and safety at airports and in flight. International visitors may also be required to take an additional test after 4 days in French Polynesia, while boosted sanitary measures will be put in place at resorts throughout the country, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of locals and guests.
Full details of French Polynesia’s COVID-19 protocols can be found at Tahiti Tourisme’s website. At time of writing, it is unclear how these changes will affect French Polynesia’s cruise industry.
French Polynesia joins a number of nations, particularly in the South Pacific, preparing for a post-COVID-19 world. New Zealand and Fiji have both been reported clear COVID-19- as of June 10, 2020. French Polynesia however is the first major tourism destination to announce the reopening of its borders to international visitors. If its precautions against COVID-19 prove successful, the Islands of Tahiti may offer a glimpse of how international travel may change in the immediate future, at least until a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed.