South Pacific jaunt can be an easy sell, operator says

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LOS ANGELES -- There are some common misconceptions about Tahiti, according to Ken Jordan, executive vice president of Tahiti Vacations.

These include, "It's too expensive," "It's too far away" and "You can't sell Tahiti for five days."

Romantic touches, such as breakfast in this bungalow atop the water, lure honeymooners to Tahiti. Jordan's company, which is owned by Air Tahiti Nui, wants people to stop thinking in those terms.

Tahiti Vacations sells a four-night/five-day package to Tahiti, and people are buying it, according to Jordan.

He also said the shorter-stay package makes people think Tahiti is closer -- in terms of a destination and in terms of a budget -- than they thought it was, which enables many agents to sell up from that.

According to the executive, the advertised price for the four-night trip is $899, but when travelers get the brochure in hand they are willing to spend more.

Honeymooners are the firm's biggest market.

"It's a very good honeymoon destination. There is the romance. It's not mass market. You can really get away from people," Jordan said.

Jordan would like agents to think of Tahiti when selling honeymoons, especially to couples interested in Hawaii.

"Stop and ask a couple of questions. Ask about budgets, their real interests, if it is a dream they never thought of. You don't have to do anything negative on Hawaii."

Pause a minute, find out where have they been? Are they more adventurous? If they are looking at the low-end of Waikiki, it is not going to work, but if they are looking at Maui, then it could work, Jordan said.

The operator features Tahiti plus the Marquesas, Easter Island, Cook Islands and other South Pacific destinations in its itinerary.

Tahiti Vacations' 2001 brochure will be available in October.

Tahiti Vacations
Phone: (800) 553-3477
Fax: (310) 337-1126
Web: www.tahitivacations.net

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