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Incoming passengers no longer need pre-departure Covid test from May 1

Saturday 16 April 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in National, Travel

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Incoming passengers no longer need pre-departure Covid test from May 1
From May 1, travellers to the Cook Islands will no longer need to undergo a pre-departure RAT or PCR test in Auckland. 21051719

Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council has welcomed Cabinet’s decision to waive the requirement of a negative Covid-19 test from incoming passengers.

From May 1, travellers to the Cook Islands will no longer need to undergo a pre-departure RAT or PCR test in Auckland.

Prime Minister Mark Brown on Thursday said: “Australia have already announced that they will remove this as a requirement of entry to their country from April 18, and many other countries around the world have already started to do away with pre-departure testing, so I am sure that this will be well-received by our tourism industry.”

Liana Scott, the president of the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council, says the industry is pleased that the requirement for a RAT test is no longer needed from May 1.

“There have been a number of issues and complaints that industry has received from guests, particularly with timing issues on check in which is incredibly unfortunate and not the best first impression we want guests to receive – it also becomes an expensive exercise rebooking both flights and accommodation,” said Scott, who is also the general manager of the Muri Beach Club Hotel.

“As more and more of the population get Omicron, the resilience starts to build, and the PCR or RAT test may stay positive for some time after initial infection – RAT/PCR tests have served its purpose, and from a travel perspective the ease of travel restrictions makes the journey way more palatable.

“We are competing on a worldly stage and it is imperative that we need to be the first choice for that island destination travel.”

According to Scott, the tourism industry has had so many barriers and obstacles throughout Covid-19 – “many businesses have had no choice but to drastically come to terms with limited to no travel (no tourist/customers) for so long, however slowly but surely the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming much brighter”.

PM Brown said the government will be looking at easing more travel related restrictions in the coming days.

“Recently, Air New Zealand also announced that it will be removing the proof of vaccination requirement for travel on its international flights from May 1. Our Government will be looking at this closely in the coming weeks, but for now our requirement for arrivals aged over 16 to be vaccinated still stands.”