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Refuges for billionaire: a fake good idea? - 23/07/2039

For many years, many islands, at home and elsewhere in the Pacific, have been acquired by wealthy people to build "shelters" and accommodate ultra VIP tourists and as wealthy as they are.

This situation, which began with the construction of luxury hotels in uninhabited islands then turned into even more specific offerings, experienced a real boom, especially thanks to a global economy that mainly favored the wealthiest.

For a long time, this tourist niche seemed like a good idea: a source of significant investment and welcome for a clientele willing to spend money, from a financial point of view, it seemed that it would be very beneficial for our economy.

But the problem was felt after a few years and is even more glaring today that the economic disparities and social tensions that have ensued are even more visible.

Because the ultra-VIP tourist can be willing to spend money without counting, but does not do it at any condition. This is done under the requirement of complete tranquility and isolation. This means that they want to avoid any real contact with the local population and that, finally, their expenses go to very specific sectors of the economy: food imports, salaries of the few local employees recruited for the holding of the "refuge"... but eventually few benefits for the local population except: for restaurants, craftsmen...

And this leads to more and more difficulties to meet the very specific demands of these extraordinary tourists who increasingly impose their way of life on our islands and do not necessarily seek to discover our culture and way of life.

So, should we maintain the development of these high-end shelters at the risk of continuing to isolate our uninhabited islands from the rest of our archipelagos? Or should we start offering these high-end tourists another way to visit our islands: a more inclusive solution, more open to our people.

The development of tourism is important but must be done taking into account the benefits for the majority of the population. And if the economy remains in this state, this tourist niche will tend to develop. But to participate in its development is to continue to fill the gaps and inequalities that also affect our islands.

In this, the political decision will be the realization of a vision of governance that will prevail or not in a world of contrasts often too important.

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