Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tahiti is no longer welcoming North American tourists

Aitutaki Motu, Cook Islands

Sure feels like it. While tourist arrivals for French Polynesia are down a staggering 29% from a year ago the national airline, Air Tahiti Nui, is doing everything that it can to discourage and frankly, insult, North American visitors.

Want a reasonable air fare to Tahiti? Fine, limit your stay to 4 days maximum and you can get a $731 RT. Yes, they are allowing us to have a four day vacation.

Four days too short? How about a 5 day vacation? Then the airfare jumps up to $996.

But listen to this. If we agree not to step on their soil but rather take a plane to Tahiti and then switch to plane to Auckland (with no stop over) we can do that for only $889 and it's valid for a trip up to a year!!!

Strange, we have many other choices. In the South Pacific, right next door, are the English speaking Cook Islands. The photo above was taken in the Cooks. Air New Zealand is offering weekly non-stops from LAX to Rarotonga for $935 (including all fees and taxes) and a maximum stay of one year. Better yet, fly to Auckland for even less (on ANZ) and get a free Pacific island stopover (Cooks, Samoa or Tonga).

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