The new focus is in support of the Cook Islands Government’s medium term goal priorities which include gender, governance, health, resilience, environment, infrastructure, ICT, water and sanitation.
Most of these priorities concern the tourism industry which drives the local economy, contributing more than 60 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product.
In his New Year’s message to industry members, corporation chief executive officer Halatoa Fua said the need for improvement in infrastructure and environmental protection was vital for the future of the tourism industry in the Cook Islands.
He said destination development would play an integral role in these projects through direct partnership with other government departments, tourism industry and the wider community.
“The work in destination marketing will strive to maintain economic development through the implementation of its five-year marketing strategy,” Fua said.
“This strategy is predominantly based on developing business-to-consumer platforms through digital and media, while maintaining a strong business-to-business focus on our travel trade and airline partners.”
The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation currently promotes the country in the key source markets of New Zealand, Australia, North America, and the UK. The Nordic countries, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, China, Japan and South America are seen an emerging markets.
Fua said lobbying for government funding was crucial for the successful implementation of their marketing strategy.
Meanwhile he paid tribute to the stakeholders and industry members for their hard work which he said had contributed to another strong year for the Cook Islands tourism industry in 2018.
“The latest International Visitor Survey (IVS) to September 2018 show in increase in visitor expenditure from $1906 (third quarter 2017) to $2124 per person (third quarter 2018). This was mainly due to the increase of ‘on-island’ spend from $138 to $165 per person per day, which exclude prepaid expenses before travelling to the Cook Islands,” he said.
“Overall visitor satisfaction remains high, as 91 per cent of those surveyed would like to return to the Cook Islands and 96 per cent would recommend to their friends and family.”
The total visitor arrivals continue to grow at 4 per cent for 2018 (11 months), following a strong year of growth in 2017 (+10 per cent) and 2016 (+17 per cent).