FRENCH POLYNESIA'S ECONOMY WEATHERED SEPTEMBER 11 EFFECTS WELL: PRESIDENT

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FLOSSE

PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (April 12, 2002 - Oceania Flash)---French Polynesia President Gaston Flosse said this week that he believed the French Pacific territory's economy was "doing well," seven months after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. and its global repercussions.

Flosse told the Territorial Assembly that in spite of the global recession the attacks had caused, especially in the transportation and tourism sectors, investors seemed to remain confident.

Four resorts are currently under construction for a total investment value of some 13.3 billion French Pacific Francs (close to 100 million U.S. dollars). This will add an additional 384 rooms to the current capacity and comes in addition to upgrading and renovation work on existing resorts, which will bring a further 572 rooms to French Polynesia's hotel capacity "by the end of 2002."

By 2004, the total investment value is expected to reach 70 billion CFP, Flosse said, augmenting the French territory's hotel capacity by 1,420 rooms and creating an expected 3,000 jobs.

Since the September 11 attacks, French Polynesia has suffered a series of blows to its crucial tourism industry.

Two luxury liners, which both belonged to Florida-based Renaissance Cruises, stopped operating in French Polynesia. They were both seized as a "cautionary measure" and local authorities are now engaged in talks with P&O Cruises regarding a possible take-over.

Also, French airline AOM (now renamed AirLib) narrowly escaped a liquidation process and announced last month that it would stop flying to French Polynesia from Paris.

The French territory’s flag carrier, Air Tahiti Nui (which was established at the end of 1998), after months of hard negotiations, finally last month obtained the rights to land in Paris, thus securing a direct link with one of its most crucial tourism markets: metropolitan France.

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