Cook Islands tourist operators plead for more direct flights

The Cook Islands tourism sector is calling for direct flights to Rarotonga from Sydney and Los Angeles.

At the Global Breakfast Update at the Edgewater Resort on Tuesday about 100 business leaders were told by the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation that talks about flights are taking place.

Managing director of Castaway Resort, Paul Ash, says it is frustrating not knowing what will happen but he understands the information may be sensitive.

He says they can’t just rely on the flights from New Zealand.

“Big picture, we need a dreamliner or a (Boeing) 777 coming here once a fortnight from LA, Vancouver or Sydney. A lot of the northern hemisphere (travel) would go through Sydney as well, so that was the other doorway here, but that’s not available now.”

Paul Ash says businesses may need a wage subsidy to get them through off-peak months if nothing changes soon.

Govt reconsidering restrictions for visitors

The Cook Islands government is considering scrapping the remaining Covid-19 restriction for incoming passengers.

At the moment over 16-year-olds must be vaccinated.

Bob Williams said policy decisions will be decided when the new cabinet is formed.

“The requirement that remains is any visitors over 16 years have to be vaccinated. We have to assess our current situation in the country against the economic recovery.”

Flights are currently available from Auckland, New Zealand with Air New Zealand and Jetstar, and from Papeete, Tahiti with Air Rarotonga with no quarantine or isolation on arrival.

Source: RNZ