He said a relatively large number of cruise liners that had been scheduled to visit last year, had been unable to allow passengers to go ashore be-cause of bad weather.
“In the financial year July 1 2015 – June 30 2016 we had eight cancellations in total – five for Rarotonga and three for Aitutaki. All were due to bad weather,” Rasmussen said.
He said cruise ship visits were important for the Cook Islands, especially as tourism contributed greatly to the nation’s economy.
The P&O luxury liner Pacific Pearl made a successful stop at Rarotonga on Monday of Queen’s Birthday weekend and Rasmussen said the next cruise ship was expected to visit the island in August.
Rarotonga kicked off the 2016 cruise ship season late last month when the smaller cruise ship Paul Gauguin called into port on May 29, bringing more tourists to bolster the country's retail outlets and businesses. Passengers aboard the Pacific Pearl were not so lucky as Monday (June 6) was a public holiday and Avarua was largely deserted.
However, when ship visits coincided with a normal business day, plenty of passengers came come ashore and spent on everything from taxis and shopping, to eating out in local bars and restaurants and participating in tours, Rasmussen said.