Flosse Asks To Ease French Polynesia Visa Requirements

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French high commissioner says visa issue not an obstacle

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 7, 2014) – French Polynesia's president, Gaston Flosse, says he has asked the French interior minister to simplify entry requirements for tourists from China.

Mr Flosse has told a news conference in Papeete that he has written to Manuel Valls after approaches to the French president and the foreign ministers have gone nowhere.

After his return from China at the weekend, Mr Flosse says Hainan Airlines will only consider flying to Tahiti if visas can be obtained more easily.

However, the French high commissioner, Lionel Beffre, has told local television he no longer considers the visa issue to be an obstacle.

He says an applicant needed to supply about 30 documents but now only has to provide five or six.

French Polynesia's tourism sector has shrunk through much of the last decade, adding to the territory's economic woes.

Mr Flosse says Hainan Airlines could bring in 100,000 tourists a year by 2017.

He says contrary to earlier reports, the carrier is not interested in using Tahiti as a refuelling stop for South America-bound planes.

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