Cook Islanders intending to travel to Australia can do so after the country reopened its borders to fully vaccinated visa holders on Sunday, welcoming the return of tourists, business travellers, and other visitors.
Australian High Commissioner to the Cook Islands,
Christopher Watkins, said: “Australians are excited to be reconnected with our
neighbours in the Cook Islands.”
“With Covid numbers coming down in Australia, and
vaccination rates high in both countries, hopefully it is not long before
direct flights resume.”
The border reopening will remove the need to spend
time in New Zealand before travelling on to Australia. The reopening of the
Australian border will reconnect families who have been divided by the
pandemic, and allow Cook Islanders to visit some of the tens of thousands of
Cook Islander Australians living in Australia, said Watkins.
It is also an important step towards restarting direct
flights between Rarotonga and Australia, which can now happen whenever Cook
Islands decides it is safe to do so.
In 2019, 28,000 Australian tourists visited the Cook
All travellers who are not fully vaccinated will still
require a valid travel exemption to enter Australia, and will be subject to
state and territory quarantine requirements.
The process of returning from Australia to Cook
Islands through New Zealand remains subject to the rules of those governments,
the statement said.