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Wednesday 1 April 2009 | Published in National


Saturday 28 March: A $50,000 initiative by CI Tourism to promote Aitutaki and get 500 extra people on the island from March to June is working so well that it is likely to bring many more visitors.

Island Hopper’s Stephen Doherty addressed yesterday’s meeting between the Aitutaki tourism industry and tourism minister Wilkie Rasmussen, saying the initiative has been a success.

The initiative involves a $100 cash back promotion for visitors from New Zealand and Australia who book a three-night package on the island from March 1 to April 30.

CI Tourism chief executive John Dean explained last month that the promotion aimed to get 500 extra people to the island. The promotion is for travel to Aitutaki between March 1 and June 30.

Doherty said as of Friday there had been 356 confirmed bookings for the special in which all Aitutaki accommodators are promoted.

The problem now is that with 34 days to go until the promotion ends, it looks like the 500 visitor mark will be surpassed and extra funding will be needed from government to keep it going.

Doherty says the promotion does not end when the target is reached, but on the date bookings end.

In the first 12 days of the promotion, Island Hopper saw 92 bookings. Since Tuesday this week there have been 22 bookings through their website. Doherty says a lot of bookings have come from a recent ad campaign in Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper.

“Obviously this (promotion) is working – it’s sensational,” said Doherty.

He told those at the meeting on Friday that with the possible addition of $1 million Rasmussen hopes government will spend on promoting Aitutaki, there is any number of wonders it can do for the island.

Doherty also commented on the promotion in relation to Sunday flights saying that one fifth or 100 people who have booked travel under it will arrive on one of the Sunday flights.

He said this means the flights are proving to be beneficial to the tourism industry. - HG