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Resort loses $7000 from three-day closure

Thursday 17 February 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in National, Outer Islands

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Resort loses $7000 from three-day closure
Aitutaki’s Tamanu Beach Resort has lost about $6000 to $7000 in revenue from the three-day border closure. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/20062515

Travel to Aitutaki is now open after being suspended since Sunday’s confirmed Covid-19 case.

Tamanu Beach Resort general manager, Nick Henry said he was “very happy” the borders were reopening.

Henry said he lost about $6000 to $7000 in revenue from the three-day closure.

“Which in our day is a lot, but it is what it is, and we’ve just got to learn to pivot as everything changes and evolves,” he said.

Henry said the community was responding well to the health measures in place.

“Everybody is masking up, we’ve had most of the stores now making it mandatory to wear a mask when you come in.

“They’ve been preparing themselves for the arrival of Omicron and I think what’s reassuring is how well the community of Rarotonga has responded to testing and how well the travellers have responded as well.”

On Tuesday Prime Minister, Mark Brown thanked the person who got tested on Sunday and subsequently returned a positive result – the country’s first Covid-19 community case. The person was a close contact of family members who tested positive in New Zealand.

Yesterday two further cases were confirmed in Rarotonga, both of these cases are close contacts of the first positive case. All three cases are in isolation.

Cook Islands News yesterday contacted the mayor of Aitutaki, Tekura Bishop for comments on passenger travel resuming to Aitutaki amidst Covid-19 cases in Rarotonga.

Bishop said he had not heard travel was resuming to Aitutaki so could not comment.

However, Henry said people on the island were reassured by the Cook Islands health systems, despite active cases in Rarotonga

He added the way Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health responded to these cases had “hopefully reassured the community and visitors”.

Henry also said it’s been a gradual start for trade with February being the quietest month of the year.

“Things don’t normally rock and roll until April through to June but our forward bookings are just fantastic, they're solid.

“We’ve had a few cancellations as people are a little bit concerned about what’s going to happen with Omicron but it’s only a small percentage at the moment, we will wait and see.”

He said businesses were trying to return to normal trading but with limitations.

“For example, tomorrow we have our island night which used to max out around 100 but we’re doing a maximum of 60 people now just because we’re trying to keep the social distancing going,” Henry said yesterday. 

“We’ve turned away a few bookings but it is what it is and we just have to try trade as much as we can for the next quarter, and once everyone gets a bit more comfortable with the Covid-19 protocols, trading inside a pandemic, I think we’re going to manage.”

Earlier this week, Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council president Liana Scott said March is looking a lot slower than the industry was hoping.

“It seems there is still a lot of uncertainty in New Zealand and concern about potentially having to extend a stay if they are found to be Covid-19 positive,” said Scott, who is also the general manager of the Muri Beach Club Hotel in Rarotonga.

“There is some nervousness out there, communication is key both to staff and guests.”

Scott said Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health had been issuing a number of updates and she encouraged operators to display them on their walls or reception counters to keep guests informed, particularly with regards to the locations of interest.

Scott said the industry was pleased about travel opening up for under five-year-olds.