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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, April 28) – Hilton Hotels is involved in the twin-hotel, residence and golf project announced last week for the Leeward Island of Huahine, it was revealed Wednesday during a presentation of the Huahine Beach Resort in New York.

The project was presented during a meeting organized by Tahiti Invest as part of the three-day special promotion in New York in connection with Air Tahiti Nui’s launching of three weekly flights to Tahiti starting on July 4.

The Huahine project targets primarily a well-to-do market found on the U.S. East Coast. A press kit distributed during Wednesday’s Tahiti Invest meeting indicates the project will involve a 150-room four-star hotel, a 100-room five-star hotel, an 18-hotel international golf course and 229 time-share residences.

Construction is expected to begin during the first quarter of next year and be completed by mid-2008, according to information provided during the meeting.

Hilton International, which includes Hilton Hotels outside the U.S. Mainland, has 11 hotels in the South Pacific—seven in Australia, three in Hawaii and one in New Zealand. Hilton has never operated a hotel in French Polynesia, and would become the eighth international chain present in Tahiti & Her Islands. The other chains are Accor (which includes Sofitel and Novotel), Amanresorts (which includes the Hotel Bora Bora), Club Méditerranée, InterContinental, Le Méridien, Starwood (which includes Sheraton, the Luxury Collection) and Radisson.

The Huahine Beach Resort would be marketed under the Hilton name, allowing the project to profit from a network of nearly 14 million members of the Hilton Honors American Express platinum credit card program that earns bonus points for each stay in a Hilton Hotel.

The project appears to be wrapped up thanks to the tenacity of James Anderson, an American who spent his vacation in Tahiti & Her Islands. After having worked in the supplying of natural gas in Canada and the former Soviet Union, he developed several golf course projects in the U.S.

The Huahine Beach Resort involves the support of a German investment bank and will benefit from French Polynesia and French tax exemption laws.

The Tahiti Invest meeting at the Hotel Waldorf Astoria in New York attracted some 30 potential investors in Tahiti & Her Islands, mainly hotel and bank officials, according to Hinano Dexter of Tahiti Invest.

French Polynesia President Oscar Temaru, his Finance Minister, Emile Vanfasse, and Air Tahiti Nui Chief Executive Officer Christian Vernaudon provided the investors with detailed information about Tahiti’s economy.

The investors were told that some 60 percent of all overseas visitors to Tahiti use Air Tahiti Nui flights. The stability of the destination, which receives financial transfers from France throughout each year, was emphasized during the presentation.

Referring to the short, three-day Air Tahiti Nui promotion trip to New York, Ms. Dexter said, "We have very little time to set up this operation." But she was optimistic, noting, "We are likely to have positive reactions rather quickly."

April May 2, 2005

Tahitipresse: http://www.tahitipresse.pf/index.cfm?lang=2


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