LOS ANGELES--Tahiti Vacations found success promoting Tahiti as a
hub for South Pacific vacations.
Although Tahiti still attracts the bulk of business for the tour
operator, its sales for the 3-year-old Tahiti and Beyond program
keep growing, according to Ken Jordan, Tahiti Vacations executive
Tahiti/New Zealand is the best seller in the Tahiti and Beyond
program, but the Tahiti/Easter Island product, introduced last
year, has provided the biggest surprise.
"It isproving to be a real coup, considering the size of the
destination, and attracted more of a market than we thought it
would," he said.
The company has nine Easter Island groups on the books for 1999,
each averaging 25 persons, from museums, universities and
associations. Easter Island, known for its monolithic statues, is a
five-hour flight on Lan Chile from Tahiti and is equidistant from
both Tahiti and Santiago.
About the same size as Moorea in French Polynesia, and with a
population of only 3,000, the island previously was included only
in South America programs, via Santiago.
Easter Island options include adding it as a three-night
extension to any Tahiti package (starting at $799) or as a
six-night package with three nights on Tahiti and three nights on
Easter Island (from $1,799).
For 1999, the company plans to add a Tahiti/ New Caledonia
combination, devoting a full page to the destination in a brochure
that will be out later this year.
Tahiti, located about half way between the West Coast and
Australia, is ideally situated to be a hub. "Nobody had tried to
use the concept of Tahiti as a hub," said Jordan. "We try to stir
people's imagination of what can be done: that you can combine
Tahiti and Australia in a week's vacation," he said, adding that
vacations can also be customized for the client.
Tahiti Vacations, owned by Air Tahiti, Tahiti's domestic
airline, sold only a Tahiti product until 1995. That year, the
company began diversifying, marketing new brochures promoting
Australia/New Zealand motorcoach and independent stand-alone
All South Pacific operators offer such products, Jordan
"We were too much like everyone else. We still sell these module
packages but decided it was not the place to put emphasis," he
In 1996, Tahiti Vacations changed course, creating Tahiti
combination packages and marketing them under the name Tahiti and
Packages include: Eight nights Tahiti/Cook Islands; six nights
Tahiti/Easter Island, and nine nights Tahiti/Moorea/Fiji, all
starting at $1,799, and eight nights Tahiti/Sydney, Australia, from
$1,999. For Tahiti/New Zealand, there are two eight-night options:
Tahiti/Auckland/Rotorua, starting at $2,099, and Tahiti with
Christchurch and Queenstown, from $2,199.
All packages include roundtrip air from Los Angeles,
accommodations, breakfast daily and sightseeing (seasonal
supplements may apply).
Flights are with Air New Zealand, except the Tahiti-Easter
Island segment, which is Lan Chile.
Jordan said that taking in an additional South Pacific
destination can be added at little, if any, additional cost.
By way of example, he noted that a vacation in Tahiti and Moorea
in French Polynesia plus the Cook Islands can be less expensive
than a French Polynesia-only package with Tahiti, Moorea, and
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