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French Polynesia

Papeetē

Spread across the Pacific Ocean, Tahiti or French Polynesia is a fascinating island nation consisting of 130 islands scattered over 5.3 million square kilometres of the South Pacific Ocean. A combined land area of approximated 4,167 square kilometres, French Polynesia is made up of 5 archipelagos (Society, Tuamotu, Marquesas, Gambier, and Australs). The islands are located approximately 6,000 kilometres east of Australia and 7,500 kilometres west of Chile. French Polynesia's main island, Tahiti, home to its capital city, Papeete, became a French protectorate in 1842, and some 38 years later, the French took possession of the entire group in 1880.

French Polynesia's economy has gone through some significant changes since 1962 when France stationed military personnel in the region. From a subsistence agricultural economy, French Polynesia has shifted to one in which a large proportion of the workforce is employed by the military or supports the tourist industry. When the French nuclear testing program came to a stop in 1996, the decline in military contribution had significant effects on the economy. However, due to the growth of its Tourism industry, which accounts for about one-fourth of the country's GDP and a primary source of hard currency earnings, territory benefits were substantially maintained.

The tourism sector of French Polynesia is one that continues to draw attention from travelers all over the world, with its scenic beauty and pristine environment. Its overwater bungalows in Bora Bora and many other islands along with other fascinating natural and cultural attractions of French Polynesia have contributed greatly to the appeal of French Polynesia to travelers and given the opportunities for investment in this island country, its popularity will continue to grow.

For visitors to French Polynesia, there is no shortage of accommodation. Some of the popular brand names in the capital city, Papeete, and other islands include Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti, Intercontinental Tahiti Resort, Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort, Hilton Hotel Tahiti, and Le Meridien Tahiti to name a few. For the more adventurous backpacker, budget accommodations are also available in Papeete and the island of Moorea and these include Taharuu Surf Lodge, Taaroa Lodge, Fare Suisse and a variety of villa rentals.

Papeete's international airport Faa'a International Airport is one of a few strategic gateways into the South Pacific, servicing a number of international flights weekly. Airlines that fly through Papeete include Air Tahiti Nui, Air New Zealand, Air France, Hawaiian Airlines, LAN, Air Calin and Air Rarotonga, as well as code share flights with American Airlines, Qantas and Delta Airlines to name a few.

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