French Polynesia will reopen its borders to tourism beginning May 1, according to an announcement from Tahiti Tourisme.
French Polynesia’s President, Edouard Fritch, broke the news at a press conference yesterday in Papeete, Tahiti, according to a Tahiti Tourisme statement, which noted that Fritch had just returned from Paris, where he met recently with several members of the French government and French President Emmanuel Macron.
French Polynesia closed its borders to international visitors 3 February, after government officials in France suspended all travel to and from non-EU destinations — except in emergencies — and extended that ban on leisure trips to France’s overseas territories, including French Polynesia.
Yesterday, Fritch indicated entry requirements for international travellers to French Polynesia will likely be revised in the coming days, according to the Tahiti Tourisme announcement, including new protocols for visitors who’ve been vaccinated for Covid-19.
“We are going to put in place a protocol at the entry of our borders using virological testing, serological testing, vaccine and ETIS [Electronic Travel Information System],” Fritch said during the press conference. “We will explain this protocol in detail with the High Commissioner in the coming days.”
Prior to the 3 February border closure, international travellers were required to complete the online ETIS forms and show proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken no more than three days before flying to French Polynesia. Visitors were then required to take another self-administered Covid-19 test after four days in the destination.
Home to more than 118 islands and just under 300,000 residents, French Polynesia has done a good job containing Covid-19 since closing its borders to tourism, reducing new cases to now fewer than 20 a week, Tahiti Tourisme officials said. Vaccine distribution has also ramped up, and is now open to all.
The visitor industry shutdown has taken a heavy toll on the tourism-dependent nation, however, which was a topic widely debated during Fritch’s recent meetings with French President Macron, according to the Tahiti Tourisme release.
More than 197,000 new Covid-19 cases have been reported across France in the past week, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Source: TravelAge West