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NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (January 24, 2001 - PINA Nius Online)---Apart from housing and employment issues, tourism development has been identified as one of the main priorities for New Caledonia's Southern Province.

A preliminary study of tourism in the province was undertaken by the French research company Ezanno Consultants, resulting in a "tourism blueprint."

The major recommendations made include reinforcing air services by increasing airline capacity on board Aircalin, expanding the range of accommodations and improving the promotion and marketing of tourist operations and services in New Caledonia.

According to preliminary estimates, the number of visitor arrivals in New Caledonia for last year is expected to total about 160,000 people.

The America's Cup yachting in Auckland, the Olympic Games in Sydney and the Pacific Festival of the Arts in Nouméa contributed to an especially high increase in the number of tourists arriving in New Caledonia by yacht -- 655 boats compared to 469 and 1,826 visitors compared to 1,256 in 1999.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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