Tamanu Beach Resort’s 23 bungalows and villas are fully booked for the Easter weekend. Booking.com/21033118
Over 400 local travellers will be heading to Aitutaki for the long Easter weekend, and industry members see the surge as a welcome relief for businesses on the island.
Air Rarotonga has 12 flights to Aitutaki over
three days, starting from today until Saturday, to meet the demand of locals
travelling to the southern group island this weekend.
According to Ewan Smith, the airline’s
managing director, Easter is usually a busy period especially when tourist
numbers are added.
But with zero international visitors due to
Covid-19 related travel restrictions, local travellers are taking advantage of
the hugely discounted rates being offered by hotels on the island.
“You will have seen the great staycation deals
being offered in conjunction with Aitutaki resorts so there’s a lot of uptake
from local travellers. It’s been a very bleak year since last March for
Aitutaki tourism so this is welcome relief for them this weekend,” Smith said.
Tamanu Beach Resort general manager Nick Henry
welcomes the arrival of the Rarotonga travellers to Aitutaki.
The resort’s 23 stylish bungalows and villas,
are fully booked. “This is good news,” says Henry.
“This is also a refresher exercise for the staff/team
as they prepare for the opening of two-way quarantine free travel with New
Zealand in May.
“Thank you to the Rarotonga community for
coming to Aitutaki and spreading the love.”
Tata Crocombe, the managing director of
Aitutaki Lagoon Resort, said a number of rooms have already been booked and
sold out with just a couple of bungalows left for the Easter weekend.
Crocombe said they are also offering the
Sunday Easter roast, BBQ buffet and the Easter Island Umu Buffet – a cultural
evening on Saturday – at Aitutaki Lagoon Resort.
Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council
president Liana Scott says she is not surprised to see Aitutaki become a
popular destination this Easter weekend.
The overwater Bungalows at Aitutaki Lagoon Resort And Spa. 18060701.
Scott said the Aitutaki tourism operators that
have chosen to keep themselves open during this pandemic have seen some
instances of “peak bookings”.
With rates slashed by more than 50 to 80 per
cent off the normal price, the domestic/local market is certainly making the
most of these favourable deals.
“Coupled with the news of an open border in
May, locals are making the most of the downtime before their busy schedule
returns of running businesses that are tourism orientated – and certainly the
contribution from Government via the Economic Response Packages to a large
extent have made this possible,” Scott said.
“Thank you to those members of the public who
are able to spend their dollars locally – every dollar spent helps.
“The same applies to the ‘staycation’ breaks
that have occurred around Rarotonga – not only does this circulate funds
domestically, but it gives operators and accommodators a ‘test’ run to ensure
all facilities and services are manageable and operational.”
However, Scott said the decision to remain
open during this pandemic have come at a cost and the influx of local visitors
would barely cover outlays that have kept them open during the idle time.
In Rarotonga, it will be similarly busy for
Tata Crocombe’s The Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa that reopened recently
after undergoing renovations.
Crocombe said rooms have been selling fast and
as of yesterday, 500 guests were booked for the Easter weekend. They have an
exciting programme planned for the weekend including the Easter egg hunt,
breakfast and lunch buffets and spa-cations.
He said they have put a lot of work into the
resort’s renovation since it was closed and now, they are offering exciting new
products and deals, particularly for local families.
Crocombe is expecting another 500 guests at
Muri Beach Club Hotel general manager Liana
Scott said they are open for breakfast and lunch daily and in the evenings from
Friday to Sunday.
“Whilst we may continue doing odd jobs around
the hotel, having some sense of normality has been good for the staff’s
self-esteem and morale.”