The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation is proposing a new approach to tourism and development in the region with a stronger focus on environment and sustainability.
The Cook Islands
Tourism Development Strategy will guide the operations of Cook Islands
Tourism’s destination development team.
“The strategy builds
upon the work achieved in this space and will improve and strengthen areas
previously under-represented,” Sustainable Tourism manager Sieni Tiraa said.
“It aligns with
national, regional, and global sustainable development aspirations as outlined
in the National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+, Pacific 2030 Sustainable
Tourism Policy Framework, and UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Tiraa said the strategy
focuses on a more regenerative approach to tourism and destination development
in the Cook Islands over the next five years.
tourism refers to supporting an environment that caters to a visitor who will
leave a destination better than it was before,” she said.
approach goes one step further and suggests that rather than primarily
considering the needs and wants of the visitor, future tourism development will
improve the holistic wellbeing of the Cook Islands people and environment.”
Asked how this
approach might work, Tiraa said: “At this point the strategy is new and we have yet to make a lot of it
operational, however our existing programmes such as Mana Tiaki are examples of
a regenerative tourism practice that will continue.”
“There are other
examples such as supporting community-based tourism and our refreshed Mana
Tiaki Certification scheme that can be highlighted.
“This wellbeing is
articulated across the ‘four C’s of well-being – Community, Culture,
Conservation and Commerce.”
Tourism Corporation chief executive Karla Eggelton said the underpinning goal
is to ensure holistic wellbeing lies at the very heart of all decision making
and associated actions.
“We are excited to
embark on the regenerative journey as we enter the new year and a period of
diversification in terms of source markets with the launch of our direct
flights to Hawaii and Australia,” Eggelton said.
movement will provide the monumental shift that is required to ensure that we
build back better, stronger and more resilient.”
Destination Development for Cook Islands Tourism, Christian Mani said the Strategy
work plan has four aspirations – to enhance and leverage our visitor economy,
to optimise the visitor experience, to empower the tourism industry, and encourage
regenerative tourism practices
represents the future for Cook Islands Tourism and the pandemic has reiterated
that tourism requires a regenerative shift,” Mani said.
“It also provides an
opportunity to create a legacy for the Cook Islands that translates into significant
benefits both now and for future generations.”