Crisis in New Caledonia. “If there is no money coming, how will we pay for everything?” : In Lefou, tourism is suffering

Crisis in New Caledonia. “If there is no money coming, how will we pay for everything?” : In Lefou, tourism is suffering

The abuses committed in New Caledonia in recent weeks have had very tangible consequences on the Lifou economy. All sectors have been affected in one way or another, especially the tourism sector which is now at a standstill. A situation that worries many families who live on it.

In Lifou, the Jeannette de Luecila Gate is one of the most crowded structures during this period, in normal times. But now it is empty. No more tourists have set foot there since the beginning of the crisis in New Caledonia last May.

Usually, there are more than 600 tourists a year. The establishment was full until September, and all reservations were canceled. The situation is so alarming that the manager has asked the bank to extend the deadline by four months.

There are no more tourists either at Hocelëny, a building in Wedrumel. The majority of customers are urban. A situation that is becoming very worrying again, with the maximum loss already estimated at around 300,000 francs.

For Jane, visitors are not about to return to New Caledonia. “There are no tourists and no money coming in. This worries me, if there is no money coming in, how will we pay all the costs, Kavat always tells us to pay the ransom.” “It's a great experience,” insists Jean Basil, the director of this gîte.

In Lifou, all tourist activities have stopped since the beginning of the crisis.

Tourism activity has also stopped for the Destination Zavilio association, which is responsible for welcoming cruise passengers. “We usually have clothes on display in the souvenir room, postcards and things we can sell to tourists and we also have honey and hats on display.”“It’s a great honor,” explains Henry Hanailolo, the association’s president, as he tours the empty offices.

Since the ships stopped, the association estimates its financial losses at more than 2 million francs. Despite the difficulties, the team cannot afford to stand idly by. Indeed, this activity represents a major source of income for 23 families from the Lusilla and Hanapalu tribes. “We will organize markets, maybe twice a week, we also have a snack bar, which we built to be able to launch this activity of selling drinks, snacks, ice cream… We will get together at the end of the week to see how we will organize ourselves to open this new snack.”

In Lifou, about fifteen hostels have been affected by the current crisis.

Report prepared by Clarisse Zaoui Watoi and Nicolas Esterghi:

© New Caledonia

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