“Don’t feel sorry for the cast of ‘Survivor’ having to battle the elements, construct shelter and scrounge for food”, reads the web article. “With its crystal clear lagoon, archetypical tropical scenery and New Zealand savoir faire ... Aitutaki is a place anyone would volunteer to ‘survive’.”
The buzz has reverberated back to Rarotonga, and is cited as a major achievement for the marketing efforts of the tourism industry, according to chief executive of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation Halatoa Fua.
“The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation is very pleased to have Aitutaki featured on CNN which is a leading media organisation internationally,” said Fua. “It is a great opportunity for the Cook Islands to raise its brand awareness particularly on Aitutaki.”
Fua said the CNN travel website, where the article appeared, receives over 1 million unique monthly visitors, sharing “the beauty of the Cook Islands to a large audience.”
In terms of fulfilling tourism’s objectives, Fua said the publicity generated helps to increase the nation’s profile amongst prospective travellers.
“This has public relations (PR) value and aligns to the corporation’s PR strategy to raise the awareness of the Cook Islands effectively,” he said. “Whilst the bookings to the Cook Islands cannot be directly measured to this CNN article, the awareness of Aitutaki as an iconic brand of the Cook Islands is crucial.”
The article is the product of a trip to the island organized by a US-based marketing agency.
Included in that trip was journalist Pam Grout, who wrote a story titled ‘Go barefoot or go home: 15 best islands you’ve never heard of’, which includes Aitutaki as number one.
In the article, Grout makes special mention of Pacific Resort Aitutaki and the island’s 9-hole golf course.
On Tuesday, Fua said the opportunity for journalists and tourism officials to visit the Cook Islands helps promote the nation’s tourism sector.
“The featuring of Aitutaki on CNN Travel shows the importance of hosting familiarisation visits by key media and trade personnel to the Cook Islands,” said Fua. “Rarotonga and Aitutaki are very ‘addictive’ once you get agents to experience these islands first hand.”
“This is a very exciting opportunity for the Cook Islands and the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation looks forward to creating more in the future.”