French Polynesia Opening To Tourists As Of July 15

Filed Under: Air Tahiti Nui, Travel

French Polynesia, which is a French overseas territory, has revealed plans to restart tourism without the need for quarantining as of July 15, 2020.

French Polynesia is not only incredibly popular with French tourists (despite the incredibly long flight), but is also popular with Americans, particularly those on the West Coast. Historically both Air Tahiti Nui and Air France have flown from Los Angeles to Papeete, while French Bee and United have flown from San Francisco to Papeete.

What are the new entry requirements, once tourism restarts in several weeks?

Will you need a COVID-19 test to visit French Polynesia?

As of July 15, 2020, French Polynesia will no longer require a quarantine upon arrival for visitors, which was a major deterrent for visiting. Instead French Polynesia will require testing before travel, and will randomly test visitors during their stay:

  • Visitors will need to take a PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure to French Polynesia; the test results will have to be shown at check-in, and you’ll only be able to travel if the result is negative
  • Travelers who tested positive for COVID-19 more than three weeks prior to the departure and who have an immunity certificate proving recovery are exempt from these requirements
  • While there will be no testing on arrival, four days after arrival the Ministry of Health and Prevention of French Polynesia will randomly test a panel of travelers during their stay

In other words, you’ll need to get tested before visiting, and you may be randomly tested sometime during your stay.

Tourists will once again be able to freely travel between islands

Is testing less than 72 hours before departure realistic?

We’re increasingly seeing countries require testing prior to travel, and typically the test needs to be within 72 hours of departure.

Something I’m not sure of is how consistently one can get tested and get the results all within 72 hours of travel? I’ve heard several data points if results taking more than three days to process, so is that something that’s reliable?

Obviously within three days you’re within the cancelation policy for many aspects of travel (even with the more flexible policies we’ve seen), so it seems to me like that comes with quite a bit of risk.

Other restrictions French Polynesia imposes on visitors

In addition to the PCR testing, there are some other things you can expect if visiting French Polynesia:

  • International travel insurance is required for every non-resident visitor (credit card coverage would qualify)
  • Visitors will have to sign a statement of commitment to follow sanitary measures and self-diagnosis of symptoms
  • Visitors will have to fill in an information form regarding their stay, including itinerary, accommodation, and more

Conrad Bora Bora

Bottom line

French Polynesia currently has no active COVID-19 cases, and plans to restart tourism as of July 15, 2020. While the French overseas territory has been allowing visitors, the required 14 day quarantine has been a deal-breaker for most, since you haven’t even been able to travel to a different island during that time.

Anyone planning a trip to French Polynesia anytime soon?

  1. Or you can just pay with your miles to go to the Maldives on an Air Canada redemption ticket flying Etihad First class! This destination is so overhyped, it’s a joke. I often compare it to Chicago!

  2. I was supposed to go to Rwanda in August, which is likely to be cancelled. As a back up, I was thinking of returning to Bora Bora. Your article gives me pause.

  3. As long as the US is 1) not enabling airside transit, 2) not accepting any arrivals from Europe, then how exactly are the French supposed to be able to visit Tahiti? All flights make a stop at LAX.

  4. Got very good friends who got stranded there in March as on arrival in PPT they heard their cruise was cancelled. The way local people and authorities treated my friends is outrageous and I believe we should stay away for a while… let’s see how business will be without tourists !?
    I understand the panic and concern on islands far away from main land but still, they treated people like criminals, refusing any support, only thanks to some overseas high intervention, they made it on the very last flight to Paris via Guadeloupe … Air Tahiti Nui… forbidden to move or leave seat.. small sip of water after 9h in the plane!
    No…. stay away from such remote places, a pity because my stay at Conrad Bora Bora Nui was probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been too back for in 2018

  5. We have tickets to Papeete and on to Rurutu in October and my hesitation to follow through is for their safety, not my vacation. I am glad they are taking strong precautions since we U.S. residents are the biggest risk in the world to them right now, but they desperately need the business.

  6. This effectively splits the Pacific into two travel zones: one for Americans and Europeans and the other for Australians and New Zealanders (once Sydney and Melbourne finish off the last vestiges of community transmission).

    The other French Pacific territory, New Caledonia, has gone the other way by copying Australia and New Zealand’s 14 day mandatory policed hotel quarantine policy (which costs $1500 per passenger).

    For those of us in Australia and New Zealand this opening up of Tahiti effectively removes it from the list of places we will be permitted to visit. Having ended community transmission, our borders will basically only be reopened to places which don’t allow Americans or Europeans in.

    In terms of the Pacific, we will effectively have two zones:

    (closed to Americans and Europeans)
    New Zealand
    New Caledonia

    (but Australians and New Zealanders banned by their own governments from visiting)
    French Polynesia
    American Samoa

  7. I was able to get my test results within 24 hours of testing , but I never received anything other than an online medical center portal message giving me the results. Does anyone know what will be needed to prove that you’ve been tested and are negative to show when traveling?

  8. I actually have a trip I never cancelled for July 17th to Bora Bora.

    I am planning on going: but am looking for a testing site that does Rapid testing so I get the results in time.

    As mentioned above, that Hawaii is open to Americans: That’s not true. In fact, Hawaii is till under 14 day quarantine until at least until end of June ( speculation it will open 1st to Japan) and possibly won’t see Americans mainland until mid july or August.. that is just talks at this point.

  9. This will probably cause significant political trouble in Tahiti.

    The French Polynesian people identify as “Maohi”, with the same language and culture as Cook Islands Maori and New Zealand Maori.

    But in terms of travel, the countries like Australia and New Zealand which have eradicated Coronavirus (and in NZ’s case abolished all restrictions at home) cannot afford for it to return via transmission from overseas via people coming into contact with Americans or Europeans. They won’t allow their citizens to travel to (Australia) or return from (both Australia and New Zealand) anywhere which accepts American or European tourists.

    So each Pacific country and territory has to choose whether to open to Americans or to Australians and New Zealanders.

    It’s a no brainer for Tahiti to choose America – Americans book a lot more of the $1000 per night overwater bungalows. But it will cut off Tahitians from their Maori cousins, and is likely to inflame the independence movement by doing so.

    Hundreds of Tahitians are educated in New Zealand and thousands access health care there. But if Tahiti opens up to Americans that access to New Zealand will end until there is a vaccine.

  10. @Donna – Interesting opinion. If anything, would think French Polynesia is a good destination and not a joke. Both Maldives and French Polynesia have their strengths and some deltas, but they are definitely top destinations for overwater bungalows and carefree days on the beach.

  11. As someone who was a caregiver of my partner with cancer last year, I was astonished at the slow and leisurely rate at which the medical
    Profession goes about processing test results, of all kinds. There was virtually no sense of urgency about anything. Meanwhile, my partner and I spent agonising weeks, sometimes months, anxious waiting for basic information and answers back. The truth is, the medical profession CAN process these test results faster, they just have no interest or need to do so. They mentally torture people with cancer and other life threatening conditions, all so that they can work at their own leisurely pace. If there’s one thing this pandemic has exposed, it is just how slow and time consuming it is for basic tests to be processed. It doesn’t need to be that way.

  12. Well this is concerning. I am supposed to be flying to PPT and connecting to BOB in December to celebrate my birthday. I know none of us have a crystal ball right now but if this requirement is still in place I fear I may have to reschedule this trip. Finding anyone willing to test without any symptoms will be hard enough, but to get the test and results back within 3 days of departure may prove to be too difficult.

  13. Hawaii quarantine might be misunderstood. 14 days OR the length of your stay if less than 14 days. Use the time to get the test. Once Hawaiian Airlines resumes service to Tahiti, fly nonstop from Honolulu.

  14. Beware that you are getting a PCR test – many of these quick tests will not qualify based on French Polynesia’s guidelines.

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