The Cook Islands’ tourism chief has urged Britons to return to the destination as it launches a campaign to draw visitors.
The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation has unveiled the Love a Little Paradise For Real campaign, which will focus on educating trade partners on what the South Pacific island country has to offer and provide agents with advice on how to sell Cook Island holidays.
Islands Tourism chief executive Karla Eggelton said she expects the destination
will drop all border entry requirements at the end of August, which she hopes
will attract visitors.
visitor numbers have been low since the Cook Islands reopened in January, with
just five Europeans visiting in its opening month, 58 in May and 86 in June.
2019, 2800 British tourists visited the Cook Islands, with 2900 in 2018 and
2950 in 2017, and, with the launch of its summer campaign, Eggelton is
confident those numbers will return.
an interview with Travel Weekly, Eggelton said: “At the end of August, we will
have a Cook Islands delegation coming to the UK and taking sessions with travel
agents across the country to provide them with an update on the destination and
tell them about the amazing things awaiting their clients, so we should start
seeing a return of UK visitors soon.
are a boutique destination that requires some knowledge to book so we rely
heavily on our travel agent specialists to provide valuable information to the
market – UK travel agents are very important to us.”
explained one of the main problems in drawing visitors is the drop in airlift
since the pandemic.
2019, the Cook Islands had direct flights to New Zealand, Australia, Los
Angeles and French Polynesia, however, only the New Zealand route has returned
as the destination opened up again after the pandemic, reducing the Cook
Islands’ core markets from four to one.
direct route to French Polynesia restarted from August 13.
of our geographic location, we rely on 100 per cent international visitors as
we don’t have a domestic market,” Eggelton said. “Airlift is critical for our
Cook Islands doesn’t have a national carrier so we rely on other airlines to
frequent the Cook Islands, but the aviation industry is going through a really
tough time and, in terms of pecking order, we are fairly low down so we don’t
know when our previous routes will return.”
asked how the drop in airlift will affect the Cook Islands’ intake of UK
visitors, Eggelton said: “We are not too worried about the UK market as when
Britons travel to the Cook Islands they are normally travelling to see friends
and family in New Zealand and they take a dual-destination holiday, so they
will still come to this side of the world and venture to the Cook Islands.
won’t have a non-stop flight from LA which will have a bit of an impact, but
there are still flights from Auckland so I feel confident with how the UK
market will come back.”