Tourism Minister Nicole Bouteau met Friday with Hans Ullrich, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Director for the Asia-Pacific region, and Brigit Jager, Training Advisor, visiting French Polynesia. These two people went to meet the certified diving and diving centers of the organization in Moorea, Bora Bora and Rangiroa.
Twelve diving centers in Polynesia, in Tahiti, Moorea, the Leeward Islands and Tuamotu, are affiliated with the PADI organization. About 70 divers are members of the organization, operating nearly 50,000 dives per year in our waters. A new diving center in the Marquesas, run by a young Marquis, will open in April in Hiva Oa, with the intention of being also affiliated with PADI.
This meeting made it possible to discuss the regulatory reform related to underwater recreational diving that the Assembly of French Polynesia adopted last December and to recall what led the country to modify the provisions of the law in this area. .
The dive in French Polynesia is nowadays mainly aimed at a tourist public and very occasional practitioners whereas previously it was essentially given to a public of soldiers, then to a public of sportsmen and specialists. The recreational diving activity represents an undeniable competitive tourist attraction for the destination. The diversity and geographic coverage of dive structures and facilities needs to be strengthened and strengthened, while maintaining a high level of safety for practitioners. 18% of tourists practice at least one dive during their stay in Polynesia, and the cumulative total of the activity represents more than 120 000 recreational underwater dives each year. With this in mind,
It was therefore a question of answering the expectations expressed by the tourist operators to face safely the flow and level of aptitude of the divers visiting the French Polynesia but also and especially to answer to the needs of local jobs by allowing the Polynesian youth to have direct access to diving training and trades.
On this last issue, Ms. Jager mentioned the example of a young Polynesian she trained in Australia and who could not practice in Polynesia his training is not so far recognized. Ullrich shared similar initiatives in Palau and Fiji, where 90% of operators are now local professionals.
The country has the ambition, within 3 to 5 years, to achieve about 50% growth for the sector, safely for visitors, and adapting to the diversity of skill levels of these countries. international occasional divers.