The cruise industry in French Polynesia, in “The Islands of Tahiti”, confirms a vigorous and ambitious recovery of activity
With small capacity ships, optimizing itineraries and experiences in the different islands, luxury cruises, expeditions and mixed cargo ships show a forecast of more than 1100 calls in 2022 in the 5 different archipelagos.
Despite the crisis, the hazards and constraints the pandemic caused for two years, The Islands of Tahiti managed to maintain a cruise activity, with ships doing turn arounds in Papeete, with rigorous protocols that allowed the epidemic not to spread.
The Tahiti Cruise Club [TCC] held its first annual general meeting in mid-February to inform all its members of the forecasts and the evolution of the situation.
The Aranui (an exceptional Polynesian cargo ship serving the Marquesas Islands), the Paul Gauguin (taken over by the French company Ponant), and the WindSpirit (a sailing cruise ship belonging to the Windstar company), have sailed the waters of the unspoiled islands of Polynesia in both 2020 and 2021.
Their schedules are also effective for 2022.
In addition, many companies have already resumed or are planning major operations in French Polynesia in the coming months: Windstar with the StarBreeze, Lindblad with the Orion National Geographic, Oceania with the Regatta & the Insignia, The World, or Norwegian Cruise Line with the Norwegian Spirit.
Beyond the more occasional operations planned, Silversea, Princess Cruises, Aida Cruises, Swan Hellenic, Royal Caribbean, Viking and Holland America Line are among the most loyal. It was also announced that Variety Cruises would be starting new operations in Polynesia.
A total of 140 roundtrip cruises are scheduled for 2022, involving ships of between 100 and 2000 passengers, with full cruises reaching 36 Polynesian islands departing from Papeete, where provisions and equipment supplies, all formalities and passenger turn arounds are handled.
“Even if the forecast occupancy rates are below the 2019 figures, all the islands, their population, tourism stakeholders and authorities are delighted and impatient to be able to interact again with the companies, the crew members and passengers. Resilience in the restart of the industry recovery is well underway in French Polynesia. We believe in this economic model, which has been ours for the past 10 years for the cruise industry” says Mr. Jean-Marc Mocellin, General Manager of Tahiti Tourisme.
Beyond that, in the South Pacific region, the recovery is currently under way. Between the recent announcements from New Zealand and Australia, Fiji is also on the starting line.
Moreover, members of the South Pacific Cruise Alliance [SPCA], including American Samoa, the Cook Islands, the Kingdom of Tonga, Pitcairn, Samoa, and the Pacific Tourism Organisation [SPTO] will attend the next Seatrade Cruise Global in April 2022 with The Islands of Tahiti on a common Pacific booth.
More than ever, the maritime South Pacific area, is determined to develop a reasonable and responsible cruise activity, around the luxury and expedition segments, from less than 300 passengers to intermediate size ships (700 to 1200 passengers particularly).
“With a growing interconnection between the main ports of Auckland, Nadi and Papeete, we are ideally positioned between the source markets of North America and Australia, or South America and Asia. This vast triangle offers a wide range of itineraries and experiences among more than a hundred authentic and secluded islands, close to nature, full of emotions and back to the roots experiences, as well as unexpected cultural discoveries, which are popular with companies and their passengers,” says Mr. Bud Gilroy, Chairman of the SPCA, and President of the Tahiti Cruise Club.
He also adds: “We are going to the next Seatrade [SCG] with confidence and determination. According to me, we have demonstrated, our reliability and commitment to an industry known to be resilient. We will be at the side of the operators to prepare an exciting, stimulating decade, for the benefit of our populations and our economic players”.
“The Islands of Tahiti”, like all the whole South Pacific islands, are therefore now resolutely looking to the future, with prospects for a gradual recovery of activity.
Tahiti Cruise Club, founded in 2010, gathers public and private players of the cruise industry in French Polynesia, and in coordination with its members, best advises public decision-makers for a coordinated and structured development. It is chaired by Mr. Bud Gilroy.
“The Islands of Tahiti” is the official destination brand of French Polynesia, developed and deployed by Tahiti Tourisme, the destination marketing organisation, supporting and encouraging Polynesian tourism operators.
Tahiti Tourisme is directed by Mr. Jean-Marc Mocellin.
The South Pacific Cruise Alliance, founded in 2011, joins 8 island states and territories of the South Pacific, for the development of the cruise industry in the South Pacific sailing basin. It acts in partnership with the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and the New-Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA); the interim chairman of the Board is Mr. Bud Gilroy.