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Letters: Visa extension fees

Monday 15 January 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Letters: Visa extension fees

My wife and I are also world travellers from cold, cold Canada. With the exception of the Covid-19 years, we have faithfully returned to the Cooks year after year once we discovered its charm.

During our 3 to 4 month stays, we contribute $20,000 or more into your economy each year. Unfortunately for us, after we had prepaid our non-refundable flights and accommodation for 2024, we were warned by fellow Canadians who had travelled in before us about the shock that awaited us at immigration.  But by then it was too late, we had no option but to carry on with our plans.

The way we see it, long term visitors that come from the other side of the world, especially during your low season, are being penalised rather than welcomed for the assistance we are providing in your time of need. Because of the great distance we travel, it does not pay to stay for less than 2 or 3 months. For the $2,820 we must pay for our visa extension, we could have booked a two-week all- inclusive trip for two to Mexico.  What would you rather spend your hard earned money on?

Your fees are unrealistic and are far, far beyond most countries in the world. I now understand when looking online in the Cook Islands tourist guides, you will never see anything about your extension fees.  Best to keep that well-hidden so long term visitors won't steer away.

Meitaki Cook Islands immigration. You have caused more harm than good to your economy.  We have enjoyed our many stays with you, but sadly, we won't be back.

Regards,

Geerd and Barbara Martin

Muri Beach