New Caledonia Flag

New Caledonia Travel Guide

Kanumera, Isle of Pines

Tourism in New Caledonia

After nickel, tourism is the most important industry, with Japan, France, Australia, and New Zealand providing the most visitors. New Caledonia is the only South Pacific country where Japan is a leading supplier of tourists—well over a quarter of the 100,000 arrivals each year are Japanese honeymooners and "office ladies," a result of nonstop flights from Tokyo. A large proportion of the French arrivals come to visit friends or relatives.

Most tourism development in North Province has been built around the concept of eco-tourism, with smaller groups staying in accommodations more in tune with their surroundings. South Province promotes conventional consumer tourism with large hotels and package tours, while Loyalty Islands Province styles itself as a beach holiday paradise.

In the tribal areas, the Kanaks have long resisted outside efforts to set up large resorts. Instead, a system of Melanesian-owned gîtes provides accommodations in these areas. As guests of Kanak people, visitors to remote areas are not viewed as intruders. The upscale Drehu and Nengone resorts on Lifou and Maré respectively are owned by Loyalty Islands Province.

Tourism development has been hampered by the quite accurate perception that New Caledonia is a high cost destination. At one point, the Australia-based budget airline Pacific Blue wanted to begin flying between Australia and New Caledonia but they backed out when it became clear that their landing fees at La Tontouta Airport would be much higher than those paid by partly government-owned Aircalin. Most English-speaking visitors spend all of their time at package tourist resorts in Nouméa