FRENCH POLYNESIA MINISTERS HIGH ON CHINA

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Shanghai expo brings promising connections

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, May 19, 2010) – Several ministers from the French Polynesian government who recently went to Shanghai stressed how important the relationship with China is for Tahiti.

French Polynesia Vice-President Edouard Fritch and Tourism minister Steeve Hamblin attended last week the "Pacific day" at the Shanghai World Expo.

French Polynesia Gaston Tong Sang also went to China earlier this month. He was in Shanghai for the opening day of the World Expo.

[PIR editor’s note: According to the Expo 2010 website, the event is a way for "China to bring the world at home, and for the world to feel at home in China…Shanghai hopes to build a powerful and lasting pilot example of sustainable and harmonious urban living." See previous story.]

Tahiti’s participation at the Shanghai World Expo was not sure at all a few months ago.

But when the Tong Sang government was created in November 2009, the new Tourism minister immediately said the World Expo had to be a top priority.

This choice proved to be a real success, government representatives told reporters during a press conference held Tuesday in Papeete.

Everyday, from 5,000 to 10,000 persons visit the Pavilion devoted to Tahiti and Her Islands.

The potential number of Chinese visitors coming to French Polynesia in the months and years to come is tremendous, according to the Tourism minister.

Genuine Tahitian products such as vanilla or noni juice could also be sold easily on the Chinese market.

The French Polynesian government would also like to see rich Chinese businessmen invest in hotels in Tahiti.

China is looking for an exotic destination for rich persons and Tahiti and Her Islands could well be that very special place, the Tourism minister claimed.

However, France will have to ease the process Chinese have to go through to get a visa for French Polynesia.

Important agreements have also recently been signed between French Polynesian and Chinese companies for credit cards.

These agreements will enable visitors to use Chinese credit cards during their stay in French Polynesia.

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