The latest government cash grants are seen as vital for long-suffering businesses waiting for a travel bubble to be formed with New Zealand in the first quarter of 2021, but any delay in two-way travel would likely force government to ask Parliament for more cash.
The Cook Islands government has welcomed Australia’s stepped-up Pacific engagement, announced by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison in Queensland yesterday of a package of cooperation and development initiatives including a new Pacific Infrastructure Financing Facility.
As the government's exploration application process moves forward, a local environmental NGO is recommending only a “very small area” be given out at first for seabed mining exploration in order to determine potential impacts.
Local tourism industry stakeholders are hoping news of a two-way travel bubble is “not too far away” following Thursdays announcement of quarantine free travel into New Zealand for Cook Islanders and valid visa holders.
The Cook Islands people continue to be the government’s top priority in 2021 with announcements including extension of the wage subsidy and the expectation that Kiwis will be welcomed back to the country’s shores by March 2021.
With the conclusion of a nationwide public consultation process, government will now be looking to put the final touches on a 10-year economic plan that aims to address a range of social and environmental issues and provide a blueprint for economic growth.
Reflecting on a difficult year, Tourism CEO Halatoa Fua says it was fortunate that in the last 10 years the Cook Islands tourism industry had a major boom and was able to establish a reserve fund to cushion the blow from Covid-19.