Saturday 18: PAPE’ETE, April 16 – French Polynesia’s government is moving to prepare a bid to host the 2019 Pacific Games.
The French Pacific country’s cabinet meeting was briefed this week about the advantages of such bid, in terms of exposure, permanent sports infrastructures and an expected boost to the ailing tourism industry.
During the cabinet brief, it as also pointed out that in the other French Pacific territory of New Caledonia, preparations were now in full swing to host the next Pacific Games, in 2011, in the capital Nouméa.
In anticipation for the 2011 Games, New Caledonia is also getting a significant financial boost from the French government, to the tune of some 13 million US dollars, to build new sporting infrastructure such as stadiums, pools and multi-purpose halls.
“It seems opportune that (French Polynesia) should submit its intention to host these 2019 Games, because of the tourism, economic, and media repercussions the Games generate”, a post-cabinet media release stated.
“If our country’s bid is successful, French aid will generate financial flows to implement investment programmes, such as new constructions or reconditioning of the older ones”, the ministers were briefed.
French Polynesia has hosted the Pacific Games twice, in 1971 and in 1995.
In New Caledonia, ahead of the 2011 Games, organising committee manager Philippe Lepoul last week briefed local media about the advancement of preparations, saying everything was “on schedule” and that most of the Games-related works should be completed by the end of 2010.
On top of the sports infrastructures currently built or renovated, a new Games village for the athletes is also under construction. The total costs of the works to host the 2011 Games is currently estimated at some 8.8 billion French Pacific Francs (XPF, nearly 100 million US dollars) in the capital Nouméa ad its greater area.
These include the Sports Village, multi-purpose halls, a base-ball pitch, new rugby and soccer fields and a swimming pool complex. - OF