Visitors set to exceed 150,000 milestone

Friday December 01, 2017 Written by Published in Local

The Cook Islands is about to set a record for the number of visitors entering the country.

 

The latest statistics, which cover visitor arrivals into the country until October 31, show growth trending at 10 per cent for the calendar year to date (YTD) from January this year.

The statistics reveal a total of 134,377 visitors have already visited the country and figures from November and December will see the total number for the year cross the milestone 150,000 mark.

Last year, a total of 146,473 visitors visited the Cook Islands.

Visitor arrivals into the country for each month of this year compared to the same period last year have also seen a major jump, except for July, when there was a decline.

January recorded growth of 21 per cent compared to visitor arrivals in January 2016.

Growth was also noted in February at 27 per cent, the highest so far, March (10 per cent), April (17), May (9), June (9), August (10), September (6) and October (8).

However, in July, 16,408 people visited the Cook Islands compared to 16,469 in the same month last year.

In October this year there were 15,404 visitors compared to 14,245 in October, 2016.

Visitors from New Zealand once again provided the most incremental growth for the month, with an increase of 716 followed by North America on 317 and United Kingdom/Ireland on 202.

New Zealand also maintained the most incremental growth in the year to date from January to October, 2017, with 6325 visitors followed by North America (2659) and Australia (1561).

The highest growth percentage for the month of October, 2017 was dominated by United Kingdom/Ireland at 110 per cent, followed by North America at 49 per cent.

However, North America at 40 per cent leads the highest growth percentage by year to date.

Cook Islands Tourism chief executive officer Halatoa Fua said the corporation was impressed with the latest visitor arrival figures

“The growth in October has shortened the shoulder season, and has aligned with the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation’s objective to grow the low and shoulder seasons,” Fua said.

“The growth has also contributed to tourism industries in the Pa Enua, as dispersal is an important factor.”

While the continued growth will be welcomed by many in the tourism industry, there has been some objections lately to the ever-increasing number of visitors coming into the country.

Calls have been made to government to slow down tourism growth. Suggested ways of doing this have included placing a cap on the number of visitors, with supporters of this idea arguing that the industry is becoming unsustainable

It has also been suggested that the country should focus on infrastructure improvements and upgraded utilities to cope with the growing number of tourists visiting the Cook Islands.

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