Travel and Tourism - Cook Islands - November 2012
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Located almost right in the centre of the South Pacific Ocean, the Cook Islands are remote, and at best, can be considered as a medium-haul flight from any of its major source markets. However, despite this geographical inconvenience (in tourism terms), they offer a developed and attractive destination to visitors looking for good weather, beaches, snorkelling and diving, and unspoilt landscapes. Good-quality accommodation, excellent cuisine and a friendly population who understand the value of tourism have ensured that the country has become known as one of the most sought-after destinations in the South Pacific. It is a firm holiday favourite for New Zealanders who can travel freely to the islands without any visa requirements, and also have the convenience of the New Zealand Dollar being the local currency. Air New Zealand offer frequent connections – up to three flights a day during the high season – and consequently the islands are the envy of many other South Pacific destinations that would be delighted with a daily flight to their main source market.
Tourism dominates the Cook Islands economy, and its importance is clearly recognised within government. The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation (CITC) is a well-organised and efficient organisation that is successfully generating increased demand for holidays, in particular from Australia and New Zealand. While these local markets are proving successful, a greater challenge will be attracting visitors from Europe. These tourists, while being considerably less in volume, tend to be bigger spenders and are therefore worth pursuing. In the future, join marketing campaigns with other countries in the region (most obviously New Zealand) are likely to prove most successful for attracting these visitors.
Overall, the Cook Islands appear to have a strong and growing tourism sector, however, in common with most small island destinations, the country’s future will remain heavily dependent on the airlines that link it to the rest of the world.
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