As part of the five-year strategic mission Fari'ira'a Manihini 2027 (FM27), the government of French Polynesia intends to set an annual limit on entry, equalizing tourists and local residents. The result should be an “equilibrium” in which there is no more than one visitor per local. This is about 280 000 per year.
The South Pacific includes such popular destinations as Bora Bora, Mo'Orea and Tahiti. The country's capital, Papeete, is located in Tahiti.
It remains unclear whether the new entry limit will apply to French citizens.
French Polynesia is a territory of France, and therefore anyone with a French passport, including those living in Guadeloupe, Guyana, etc., is not considered a foreigner by law.
The FM27 document recognizes that tourism is an important source of employment and income for residents. However, restrictions on attendance and other changes will lead to an outflow of international tourists.
In accordance with this plan, the government seeks to “diversify the geography of guests, make it possible to maintain economic growth without compromising the environment and the quality of life of the population.” At the same time, the authorities want to encourage travelers from different parts of the world.
Experts note the strangeness of limiting the number of travelers, because excessive tourism on the islands is not a problem.
According to the World Bank, in 2019 French Polynesia received about 300,000 foreigners, the highest ever. That is, the announced plan of 280 000 is not much higher than this maximum. Surely other similar models around the world influenced the decision of the authorities.
The Central Asian kingdom of Bhutan is often cited as an example of what can happen when tourism is carefully and thoughtfully controlled by the government. The country currently has a “tourist tax” $200 per person, which keeps all but the most dedicated travelers from traveling. In turn, the money from the collection is used to support local communities by providing education, health care and more.
Meanwhile, many popular destinations across Europe have had to introduce stricter measures in recent years to combat the influx of tourists .
Italian Venice has suffered the most from overtourism. Venice City Hall was forced to introduce measures such as a tax for day-trippers — to compensate for the lack of income from staying in hotels, and also severely limited the rental of apartments and other properties listed on services such as Airbnb. The goal is one — stop the flow of travelers.