The preliminary results from the “Community Attitudes Towards Tourism Survey” which closed this month, show 80 per cent of Cook Islanders value the industry which drives the local economy.
The survey, formulated in conjunction with the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute and Auckland University of Technology, received 950 responses from members of the community, who had their say about tourism issues impacting them.
Cook Islands Tourism Corporation director of destination development Metua Vaiimene said some interesting findings were revealed in the preliminary result.
“One thing that was revealed in the preliminary result is that the people of the Cook Islands understand the value of having more visitors. They know more visitors mean more income for the country,” Vaiimene said.
The survey also revealed that people did not feel Rarotonga was overcrowded by the increased number of visitors coming into the country, he added.
However, Vaiimene said there was a “big section” of people, who were not sure whether the increasing number of visitors was leading to overcrowding.
“We will know more about this survey once the final result is out next month. I personally was expecting more responses, but according to the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute, 950 is a great sample,” he said.
“They carry out surveys on consumer confidence in tourism in New Zealand and they get about 500 responses, so they are extremely happy with the response rate for the survey here.”
Vaiimene said the Tourism Corporation also received responses from the outer islands – Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke, Manihiki and Penrhyn.
The 10-week online survey, which was available in Cook Islands Maori and English, asked questions about the perceived economic benefits of tourism, and how the community felt about the effect of tourism on the environment and culture.
Questions were also asked about the amount of information available about tourism, and the overall attitudes of people towards the industry.
Using the data collected in this survey, the Cook Islands Tourism is hoping to address some key issues affecting the industry.
It will also help guide the development of tourism strategies and policies, and identify gaps in stakeholder management that need to be addressed by the sector.
The survey will give an in-depth understanding of how the host communities feel about the Cook Islands’ leading industry.
Vaiimene earlier told CINews tourism authorities could also use the findings to put pressure on government departments and other agencies to address some of the issues affecting the industry.
Detailed results of the survey are expected next month.
Meanwhile, those who completed it went into weekly draws for a $20 Bluesky voucher. Poppy Doherty of Aitutaki won the major prize– a new Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro smartphone.