Pacific nations prepare to fight for Kiwi tourists

Tuesday 21 July 2020 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Economy


Cooks to woo tourists with Covid-free status, while other Pacific nations slash holiday prices.

Cook Islands faces strong competition for Kiwi visitors when they resume travelling to the Pacific.

Fiji, the leading player in the regional tourism industry, announced incentives in a bid to attract more tourists, targeting New Zealanders after Covid-19.

It coincides with promising Covid-19 test results announced this week by UK scientists, which might hasten the resumption of travel and tourism around the world.

Fiji revealed it will “soon” drop its quarantine requirements for tourists from New Zealand.

The country has also reduced the prices of hotel accommodation, food and beverages prices and will give $282 each to the first 150,000 visitors, to spend on their holiday.

Cook Islands is expected to announce an amendment to its travel advisory this week, allowing Kiwis to visit the country without any quarantine requirement.

Local tourism operators say if there are any initiatives to entice visitors, they will be revealed after a date for is set to resume travel.

Halatoa Fua, chief executive of Cook Islands Tourism, said: “It would be premature to comment on tactical campaign details at this stage”.

Liana Scott, acting president of the Tourism Industry Council, said they had met with Cook Islands Tourism and discussed rolling out strategies and campaigns.

It was too early to release anything, she said, “unless they have a definite date” for the travel bubble.

They would not get into the “trap” of aggressive marketing like bigger nations such as Fiji where tourism is a billion dollar industry.

Scott said Cook Islands being a Covid-19 free destination should appeal the Kiwis.

“I think Fiji will be opening to more than just New Zealand including other countries that have Covid-19 whereas Cook Islands is targeting New Zealand only and cautious about who comes in.”

Fletcher Melvin, chair of the Private Sector Taskforce, also said: “The Cook Islands industry will be marketing our Covid-free status stays as the advantage over other destinations.”

However Melvin said “as time goes by we may readjust our marketing”.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week said: “I have no set dates yet for any reopening of borders with realm countries and to say that we have dates yet would be premature, but I am continuing my conversations with the Cook Islands and with others.”