History / Career
Bernard Rickenbach, Regional Groups & Incentive Department, InterContinental Resorts French Polynesia
Almost 25 years ago I arrived in French Polynesia, working on a large private yacht as Hotel Director and fell immediately in love with this place and the people. After 15 years traveling around the world and working in the field of luxury travel I joined the MS Paul Gauguin as Travel Manager / Sports Director and Lecturer. Two years on this ship, gave me a solid knowledge of French Polynesia and its capacities (and limitations). Having enough traveled at sea, I joined one of the largest DMC companies on Tahiti for several years. 12 years ago we created the Groups & Incentive Department at the InterContinental Resorts, French Polynesia and I have been working with Incentive groups ever since.
Why choose the Islands of Tahiti for conferences or incentives?
The world is getting smaller and smaller and for many groups the “having done that and been there” list is getting longer. Tahiti may not be the most accessible island, but the trip is worth it and this allowed the islands to stay authentic in this fast pacing world.
In Tahiti the Wow Factor starts the minute you step of the plane, the sounds, colors, the people, and the smell of fragrant Tiare flowers – you are transferred into a different world. Despite the Globalization, Tahiti has kept its uniqueness, authenticity, safety and groups are embraced by the people and culture. Every movement, from Tahiti to Moorea, to Bora Bora, by boat of by plane, on the Lagoon………. is part of the Incentive.
What is the biggest misconception in the C&I world about Islands of Tahiti?
Tahiti: a honey moon destination, expensive, not much to do, no shopping, are all “Cliché’s” of a destination which has so much to offer. French Polynesia can be seen as a pricy destination, yet the Tahitian Experiences are unforgettable.
A stay in an overwater bungalows, an authentic Tahitian ground oven dinner with a full ceremony of Polynesian Dancers, swimming with sharks and rays in a crystal-clear lagoon, watching the millions of stars on the clear night sky. All “bucket lists” events, here as a regular day, can be experienced in this part of the world.
What is your number 1 must-do in our islands?
I always say that Tahiti and her islands is not a destination, but a way of life. And one way, “a Must”, to live that, is too go out with the guides, such as on a Lagoon Tour on Bora Bora, a Mountain Safari on Moorea, a visit of the Market and the museums on Tahiti, learn how to make a lei of flowers, learn to weave a basket, learn to dance – all these activities may seem too simple things, but they will connect you to nature, to your friends and partner, and most important to yourself.