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Aitutaki ‘fully booked’ for long Easter break

Thursday 1 April 2021 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Local, National


Aitutaki ‘fully booked’ for long Easter break
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 their restaurant.

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.”