Tahiti is looking at limiting the size of cruise ships that visit (photo Nico Smit) Tahiti is looking at limiting the size of cruise ships that visit (photo Nico Smit)

Tahiti looks to limit size of cruise ships, refuse largest vessels

French Polynesia is repositioning its cruise industry in favour of ships with small and medium capacity.

A release from Tahiti Tourisme says the destination will ‘reposition around four axis’, applicable from 1 January 2022.

Firstly it will favour year-round turnaround ships based in French Polynesia, of small and medium capacities (700 passengers).

It will also allow turnaround ships, in trans Pacific repositioning, up to 2,500 passengers (capacity of the future Papeete cruise terminal).

For trans Pacific cruises, authorities will limit the ships’ capacity calling in to Tahitian waters to 3,500 passengers. Tahiti Tourisme says larger capacity ships put stress on maritime infrastructure, services (transport and activities), as well as on the environment, especially in remote islands. Tahiti, Moorea and Raiatea will be the preferred islands of call for these large capacity ships.

‘The islands of Tahiti plan to refuse stopovers by very large capacity ships (over 3,500 passengers). Both in terms of capacity and size, they are not suited for our destination,’ the Tahiti Tourisme statement says.

‘This positioning is the result of a shared vision of sustainable and inclusive development integrated into the 2021-2023 recovery plan for French Polynesia as well as in the tourism development strategy, Fari’ira’a Manihini 2025.’

The release notes that leading up to the Covid crisis the destination welcomed turnarounds not only from companies such as Paul Gauguin Cruises, Aranui and Windstar, but also Ponant, Lindblad Expeditions, Oceania, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Silversea, and others.

‘Fully aware that turnarounds strongly condition our ability to resume international air links and our tourism industry, the Government will support the recovery of the tourism economy to this end.

‘This support is reflected in the will of our public authorities, with regard to overseeing call itineraries; and also to regulate visitation flow in the islands based on the infrastructure and services available. Authorities are developing a framework for managing calls requests in our waters via a single portal, still under development.’


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