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Vaccine requirement dropped

Saturday 10 September 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Health, National

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Vaccine requirement dropped
Passengers head off to the Cook Islands after the travel bubble reopened earlier this year. Photo/RNZ/22090926

The vaccine requirement for travellers to the Cook Islands has now been dropped.

Cook Islands News has received confirmation from the Office of the Prime Minister that Cabinet approved the request to drop the requirement on Tuesday.

However, it was only on late Friday that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Immigration and Cook Islands Tourism changed the travel requirements on their websites.

The revised travel entry requirement states from September 6, 2022, Covid-19 vaccination requirements have been removed and no longer apply for travel and entry to the Cook Islands by aircraft and sea vessel.

Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health has been approached for comment.

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation chief executive Karla Eggelton said she was “absolutely ecstatic” about the news.

“Now friends and family of the Cook Islands can travel here without any health restrictions,” Eggelton said.

Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council president Liana Scott, of Muri Beach Club Hotel, said “the Cook Islands continues to rebuild its tourism reliant economy, and has been truly one of the few countries in the world that has strategically progressed so favourably when viewed against hospitalisation numbers, the wearing of masks being still very pronounced and business closures”.

“Removing vaccination requirement is another step that allows us to begin rebuilding our tourism reliant economy,” Scott said.

“Although a small market, it is still one that we look forward to welcoming.”

Castaway Resort owner Paul Ash said “anything that makes it easier to travel is good news”.

“It’s a positive development. All we need now is for Air New Zealand to deliver us some more flights and we’d be away laughing,” Ash said.

Travellers to the Cook Islands still have to adhere to normal immigration requirements.

They are:

  • All international passport holders must have a passport valid for a period of at least six months beyond their intended period of stay in the Cook Islands. This will allow you a stay of up to 31 days in the Cook Islands.
  • All New Zealand and Australian passport holders must have a passport valid for a period of at least seven days beyond their intended period of stay in the Cook Islands. This will allow New Zealand passport holders a stay of up to 90 days in the Cook Islands. Australian passport holders are eligible for a stay of up to 31 days.
  • You must have evidence of a valid outbound ticket or return ticket to your port of origin.
  • You must have proof of accommodation during your stay in the Cook Islands.
  • For maritime border entry to the Cook Islands, all travellers must comply with the Customs Revenue and Border Protection Act 2012