MIAMI -- As Tahiti undergoes a growth spurt in hotels and
infrastructure, Far & Wide Travel has taken serious notice of
that faraway destination.
In February it will introduce a Tahiti program -- an offshoot of
Swain Australia Tours, a Far & Wide operator that has offered
Tahiti as a stopover in its Australia-New Zealand program since its
founding 15 years ago.
The program will be branded Swain Tahiti and operated under Far
& Wide's Pacific division, headed by Swain Australia founder
and president Ian Swain.
"It's always been in the back of our Australia catalog as an
extension," said Swain, "but more recently with the dramatic change
in tourism infrastructure in Tahiti, we're seeing it as a great
destination in itself."
According to Swain, recent incentive programs by the French
government to encourage hoteliers to build and refurbish properties
has led to a significant improvement in Tahiti's tourist
"The last three years there's been a tremendous surge in trained
staff," said Swain. "It's a great destination for the North
American traveler in both the luxury and the mid-markets."
The Swain Tahiti program is constructed on the model of Swain's
Australia and New Zealand programs, which give customers the
freedom to combine package components any way they want. Standard
packages are offered but can be changed and recombined.
"We're covering all the islands," said Swain, "the Society
Islands; the Tuamotus Islands, including Rangiroa; and the
Marquesas, which are linked with the heritage of Easter Island and
have similar sculptures to Easter Island. We also are offering
Easter Island in the brochure."
The primary carriers for the program are Air Tahiti Nui and Air
A basic six-night package to Tahiti is priced from $1,239 per
person, double occupancy, including air and accommodations at the
Tiare Tahiti Hotel in Papeete.
Also available at higher prices are the Sofitel Maeva Beach, the
Le Meridien Tahiti, the Tahiti Beachcomber and the Sheraton
There are similar vacation packages for Moorea, Bora-Bora,
Huahine, Taha'a, Tikehau and the Marquesas. Easter Island also is
available in the program.
A variety of cruise options are presented, including Bora Bora
Cruises, the Paul Gauguin and the Windstar. Wedding packages and
spa packages also are featured.
The Austral and Gambier islands are offered as custom tours, but
Swain said there is little demand for them from U.S. travelers.
The brochure information will be available on line early in
February at www.swaintahiti.com when the product is announced
officially. Commission is 10%.
For information or reservations, call (800) 227-9246.