A British couple had their hopes of giving their daughter a dreamy first Christmas when they were denied entry to the island of Tahiti. The family was detained and deported to the UK upon arrival.
Dream Turned Nightmare
Steve Goode, 31, and his partner Charlotte, 29, were travelling with their six-month-old daughter, Penelope to the Polynesian island on a £15, 000 holiday which was to last until January 12.
They left London December 17 - barely 24 hours after France announced a ban on all non-essential travel for British visitors.
What they did not realize was that this ban extended to all French territories as well, something Goode said they were not alerted to by the airline or the hotel they had booked. He told the Daily Mail:
It was a complete and utter surprise when we landed. We made all reasonable steps. We got an ETIS [visa] from the French, we got a negative PCR Covid-19 test, we got all the necessary documents, we were approved to travel, the airline boarded us.
The Tahiti tourism website says:
Since December 17, 2021 at noon (Tahiti time), a compelling reason is required for travel between the United Kingdom and France (including overseas territories) regardless of the traveler’s vaccination status.
They took an 11-hour flight to Los Angeles and flew to the Island on December 20. But upon arrival, they were told they could not leave the airport.
Victims Of A Political Stalemate
Goode lamented the terrible treatment they received at the hands of Tahitian immigration officials. Speaking to reporters, Goode, from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire claimed:
They were just horrendous. Awful. Especially as we’ve got a child as well, we thought there would be some form of concession. We asked for food, they said no.
After being detained for more than six hours, the family was quarantined in a hotel overnight due to baby Penelope’s poor health. He told the Mail:
We weren’t allowed to leave the room, there were police guards walking up and down the street. Police were banging on the door at 1am to check we were there.
They couple believe they were unfortunate victims in a political stalemate between France and the UK. He alleged:
We spoke to a couple of nice immigration officers – and they said, being honest with you, it’s because Britain and France’s relationship is not good.