TravelPulse Q&A: One-on-One With Tahiti Tourisme’s Kristin Carlson

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The Islands of Tahiti are once again welcoming travelers from the United States.

Americans who are vaccinated or can show antibodies for COVID-19 can now visit French Polynesia without a quarantine.

Travelers can once again enjoy the stunning islands, beautiful beaches and brilliant blue waters of the tropical paradise.

TravelPulse spoke one on one with Kristin Carlson, managing director of Tahiti Tourisme, to get the latest details for travelers wishing to head to Tahiti.

TravelPulse (TP): Do travelers need to be vaccinated to visit French Polynesia?

Kristin Carlson (KC): Those travelers who have been vaccinated, or can prove immunity to COVID-19 through an antibody test, can visit without a quarantine. Anyone else will need to quarantine in Tahiti for 10 days.

Traveling for tourism is only allowed for those who have been in the United States for at least 30 days prior to departure.

TP: Is testing required before departure or upon arrival? Are there any quarantines in place for visitors?

KC: Visitors must take an RT-PCR test within three days of their departure and show their negative test result in order to depart.

Once they arrive at the airport in Papeete, they will take an antigen test and receive a testing kit containing a self-test which must be taken on the fourth day after their arrival and submitted to the reception desk at their place of lodging.

The CDC also requires an antigen test be taken to re-enter the United States. This is available at the airport on the day of their departure.

There are quarantine options available in Tahiti if someone should test positive. Options and pricing with meal packages are available.

TP: What about parents traveling with children? Do they have to be tested? If they are vaccinated, do children follow the same procedures as adults?

KC: Everyone must be tested except children under the age of 11, including parents traveling with kids. Children that are aged 11 and up follow the same testing procedures as adults.

Children under the age of six are exempt from the travel requirements. Children six and over must follow the same procedures as adults (vaccinated or show immunity in order to avoid quarantine), except only travelers ages 11 and up need to take the first RT-PCR.

If a traveler can show immunity through an antibody test or are vaccinated, then they can avoid quarantine regardless of their age, assuming they meet all other requirements.

TP: What is the ETIS platform? How do travelers register their information and what information do they need to provide? What if they need to change their itinerary?

KC: The ETIS platform is where travelers can provide their travel itinerary and declare their intent to observe the health protocols (testing requirements, social distancing, mask-wearing, etc.) prior to their departure.

Visitors simply access the platform and provide their travel information, such as where they will be staying during their trip. Travelers can log in and make adjustments to their itinerary if needed.

Each traveler must also upload their documents to be verified by the High Commissioner. This must be done a minimum of six days prior to departure in order to receive their boarding authorization.

TP: What can travelers expect when visiting the islands? Are masks required? Are there safety protocols in place? Is public transportation available such as taxis?

KC: The Islands of Tahiti has a great track record of safety for travelers with very low incidences of any travelers contracting COVID-19, even before the vaccinations were required. This is due in part to the pre-departure requirements, but also because social distancing and mask-wearing is observed throughout the islands.

It is also a place where it is naturally easy to socially distance. Taxis are available and masks are required.

With dozens of islands to visit where almost everything is open-air and there is no challenges with over-tourism, visitors can expect a very safe and enjoyable travel experience, a chance to finally relax and feel the weariness of being in quarantine drift away.

TP: What activities can travelers do when they visit? Are there any types of activities that are not available?

KC: Most activities are outdoors and are largely still available. Popular activities such as lagoon tours with traditional motu (tiny islet) picnics, diving, hiking, ATV and 4×4 tours in open-air trucks, as well as culinary tours and Polynesian dance and musical dinner shows are all still taking place, albeit with additional safety measures.

It varies by resort, but most are still offering spa treatments as well with modifications for safety.

TP: Are restaurants open in Tahiti?

KC: Yes, many restaurants are open and operating normally. One caveat would be on the islands of Moorea and Tahiti, where a 10 p.m. curfew has impacted some restaurants from re-opening or having their usual hours.

TP: Are hotels open and are hotel services being offered such as access to the pool or spa or watersport activities?

KC: Many hotels and resorts have reopened and are offering the same services with some additional protocols in place for safety. With the most popular room category being an overwater bungalow or a garden bungalow with private pool, the pools at many resorts usually go under-utilized in any case and are therefore easy to keep sun bathers at a safe distance.

Source : Travel Pulse, 19th May 2021

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