Tourism cops 3 per cent budget cut

Thursday September 20, 2018 Written by Published in Local

The upcoming budget which is expected to be tabled in Parliament tomorrow promises some new initiatives, but it doesn’t look that promising for the industry which drives the local economy.

 

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation chief executive officer Halatoa Fua yesterday revealed that they were set to face about a three per cent cut in their budget for 2018/19 financial year.

The corporation received $9,931,634 to help with its strategies in bringing more tourists in the 2017/18 financial year, which ended on June 30, 2018.

For the upcoming financial year, the tourism body is set to receive about $9.6m.

Speaking at the Global Breakfast Update at the Edgewater Resort and Spa conference room, Fua said the corporation now had to look at other avenues to market the country.

“There has been some reprioritisation of budget within the government between the sectors looking at the economic as well as social (aspect).

“What’s going to happen for tourism in the 2018/19 financial year is that there is going to be a budget reduction of $320, 000,” Fua said.

“This is about three per cent of our budget but we are working together to try and find ways in which we can have very minimum impact on work that we do.

“As a result of that, we held our regional managers’ meeting in the last two days, looking at ways we can become more efficient and effective in the way we market the Cook Islands.”

Tourism provides the economic base that makes up around 67.5 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Over the past few years, there has been a steady increase in visitor arrivals, boosting the income the country receives annually from the industry. Arrival figures reached an all-time high in 2017, attracting 161,362 visitors to the country.

Last year when the government announced tourism budget of about $9.9m, which was similar to the previous financial year, the corporation said it needed more to sustain the growing industry.

“This budget is sufficient to operate its current destination marketing strategies and destination development projects,” Fua then said.

“While there is a need to increase budget allocations to facilitate growth in the tourism sector, we are mindful of the fiscal constraints as a whole of government.”

 

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