PRO-INDEPENDENCE TAVINI PARTY DEMANDS FLOSSE'S RESIGNATION

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 FRENCH POLYNESIA NEWS October 29, 1999 PINA Nius Online

PAPEETE, French Polynesia (October 29, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---The pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira Party caused vigorous debate in the Territorial Assembly Friday when it demanded President Gaston Flosse's resignation, Radio 1 reports.

The day before, Tavini leader Oscar Temaru, at a press conference, also had asked for Flosse's resignation because of his involvement in the so-called "Hombo" case.

During a court hearing, which took place in Paris earlier this month, the prosecution alleged that Flosse and his political allies were guilty of "passive corruption" by granting permits to a Chinese-born businessman ("Hombo") for a gambling establishment and accepting monetary gifts.

The Paris court is to announce its verdict on November 24.

Debate was close to turning violent on Friday, when Flosse replied to the accusations that Tavini members held a record of convictions within their own ranks.

Tavini strongman Emile Vernaudon even threw a bottle on the assembly benches, then moved closer to Flosse with the apparent intention of punching him.

The physical showdown didn't take place, however, as advisors managed to reason with the two men.

The session then was adjourned until the afternoon.

"Which political party in this parliament has more jail sentences? Tavini Huiraatira! And they come here to give us lessons ? They should clean up their own house," Flosse told Radio 1 after the session.

Another member of the house, Lucien Kimitete, from the Marquesas Islands, expressed disgust at the incident.

He had lost his voice from shouting to the house that they should stop putting shame on French Polynesia. "I'm completely disappointed. I traveled 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) to come here and work on an important subject, and that is the budget. What sort of image are we projecting to our children? Our people? This is childish. I don't accept this."

 

FLOSSE "MORE CONFIDENT AND OPTIMISTIC THAN EVER" ON TOURISM FUTURE

PAPEETE, French Polynesia (October 29, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---French Polynesia’s President, Gaston Flosse, said he was "more confident and optimistic than ever" about his territory's tourism future as he officially opened the 8th Annual Conference of Tahiti-Tourism Overseas Representatives.

Flosse said statistics showed that the number of visitors to French Polynesia would reach the 200,000 mark by the end of this year.

He said this was the first time French Polynesia saw "tangible, successful returns after many years of struggle, difficulties and stumbling blocks to develop tourism in French Polynesia."

He stressed the importance of the people factor in any tourism industry.

"When one travels, one mainly visits a people, even if the setting is important, and, for that matter, we have one of the most spectacular ones in the world."

Eco-tourism, Flosse said, was also one new market to be fully expoited.

Some 9 billion French Pacific Francs (US$ 90 million) are currently earmarked by the French Polynesian government to build a new town in the Leeward islands, which is to become a regular port of call for luxury liners Renaissance 3 and 4.

Upgrading work on wharves and the infrastructure, but also improving and beautifying tourism facilities, are to be paid for from the same fund.

He said funds would soon be made available to help create small businesses in a family environment.

"The tourism industry has this peculiarity that it produces happiness. But our visitors also want value for their money.

"We're trying hard to reduce our costs, but results are not sufficient yet."

This year, the number of cruise liners passengers visiting French Polynesia has increased by 73%, mainly due to the arrival last August of Renaissance 3.

Later this year, Renaissance 4, a similar luxury liner, is to start regular calls in the French Territory.

"Renaissance Cruises spend 1.5 billion CFP advertising our destination in the American market. This is even more than our Tahiti-Tourism budget, which is only 1.2 billion," Flosse stressed.

The airline service had also improved, with Hawaiian Airlines inaugurating a second weekly link between Honolulu and Papeete, Air New Zealand a fourth weekly Auckland-Papeete roundtrip next month, Air France a fifth Paris-Papeete schedule soon and flag carrier Air Tahiti Nui considering a bi-weekly frequency to Japan.

Tahiti-Tourism's annual meeting aims at defining new strategies to market French Polynesia in the year 2000.

"We've called on all our overseas representatives to work on new ways to promote Tahiti and her islands. This is not only the sun and the sea, but also nature, culture, the people. We intend to promote a new form of tourism for us, eco-tourism, and as a result be more visible on this specific market niche," Tahiti-Tourism director Brigitte Vanizette said.

 

135,233 VISITORS TO TAHITI AS OF END OF AUGUST

PAPEETE, French Polynesia (October 29, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---French Polynesia registered 135,233 visitors at the end of August this year, a 9% increase compared to the same period last year, official statistics here show.

The increase is mainly due to the arrival of luxury liner Renaissance 3, which boosted cruise ship visitors by 73%.

In the hotel tourists category, the increase was 10% compared to last year.

The most significant increase comes from the United States market (+20.7% compared to last year), which now makes up 28% of the total number of visitors.

France remains the main market for French Polynesia (29.7% of the visitors), but only increased by 8%.

Visitor numbers from other European countries increased some (+8%), but those from Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South America show reductions.

Tahiti-Tourism, which is the main tourism promotion arm of French Polynesia, is implementing a new promotional strategy to repair damage caused by riots in Papeete four years ago.

The new strategy involves not only promoting French Polynesia's three main islands -- Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora -- but stressing the cultural distinctiveness of all the French Polynesian islands.

Tahiti-Tourism hopes to reach the annual 200,000 visitor mark for the first time by the end of the year.

This bulletin was produced by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). Editor: Patrick Antoine Decloitre E-mail: padec@iname.com 

For more information, contact Nina Ratulele, PINA Administrator, at pina@is.com.fj 

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Damodar Centre, 1st Floor 46 Gordon Street Suva, Republic of the Fiji Islands Tel: (679) 303 623 Fax : (679) 303 943 Postal Address: PINA, Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji Islands

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