French Polynesia Is Reopening to Tourists Coming From U.S. and Europe Next Month (Video)
Visitors headed to islands including Tahiti or Bora Bora will be required to take a COVID-19 test 72 hours before departure.
French Polynesia is preparing to reopen its borders, making the dream of its lush vegetation, coral sandbars, and dreamy overwater bungalows a reality quite soon.
Made up of 118 Islands, including Tahiti and Bora Bora, French Polynesia will reopen its borders for tourism initially to Europe and the United States on July 15, according to a press release from the French Polynesian government.
Per the criteria, also shared by Tahiti Tourisme, visitors to the islands will be required to take a COVID-19 test 72 hours before departure and provide documentation of negative results before boarding a flight. Travelers who tested positive for the virus more than three weeks before their trip will have to show an “immunity certificate” as their proof.
Tahiti Tourisme reps told Travel + Leisure that the island will be open to all tourists on July 15, however, as of now airlines from the U.S. and Europe, including United and Air France, are confirmed to be making their way to Tahiti.
South America-based Latam Airlines, who also flys to Tahiti International Airport, confirmed to T+L that they will not be heading to the islands just yet.
"We continue to evaluate our operations based on border and travel restrictions as well as demand, but have no fixed date regarding our flights to Tahiti," a spokesperson for the airline told us.
Air New Zealand, also listed on Tahiti's tourism site as an airline that flys there, did not immediately respond for comment regarding whether they'll also be flying visitors to French Polynesia by July 15.
Dates for flights from other countries have not yet been announced and rules for cruises were not immediately clear.
Upon arrival, visitors will have to fill out a form with their itinerary and contact information. While tourists are not required to wear a mask, it is recommended.
Travelers will also need to have a travel insurance policy, which may be covered by some credit cards. Tourists may be randomly tested for COVID-19 four days after arrival. If a visitor tests positive, they will be isolated and their itinerary will be traced.
French Polynesia, which hasn’t had an active case of COVID-19 since May 29, has recorded 60 confirmed cases of the virus in total and no deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the spread of the virus.
In the meantime, beach lovers can get a dose of wanderlust with the islands’ virtual campaign: “Tahiti Comes to You.” Get to know the coral gardeners on the islands and learn to cook traditional food in the video series.
French Polynesia isn’t the only island paradise looking to welcome tourists back to its pristine beaches and shores. Several Caribbean islands, including the Bahamas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Saint Lucia are reopening for visitors with restrictions aimed at mitigating the potential spread of the virus.
This story is developing and will be updated with new information as it becomes available.