THE Cook Islands expects more tourist arrivals from the United States with the use of larger aircraft on the Rarotonga-Los Angeles route.
Using the Boeing 777 instead of the smaller B767 aircraft, Air New Zealand will be able to move an additional 150 passengers per flight to the Cooks.
Combined with Jetstar’s new service out of New Zealand with links to Australia, this will grow tourism numbers to the eastern Pacific territory by at least 15,000 per annum.
Cook Islands Tourism CEO, Halatoa Fua, said the Boeing 777 flights would allow a 30 per cent increase in passengers on the route beginning in December.
Fua made the announcement at the South Pacific Tourism Exchange on Australia’s Gold Coast today (Friday).
A weekly direct service from Christchurch to Rarotonga beginning in June will boost Cook Islands tourism arrivals even further. Air New Zealand, Virgin, Jetstar and Air Tahiti Nui fly to Rarotonga.
“We are very excited about these latest developments and our code share arrangements with Qantas which gives us access to some 12 million frequent flyers,” Fua said.
“We are also looking at reinvesting in current hotels and resorts, streamlining taxes, reviewing land laws and creating private-public sector partnerships.”
The initiatives, he said, were designed to drive greater investment in the industry and the economy.
Meanwhile, Jetstar’s Head of New Zealand, Grant Kerr, said the low fares airline’s first service connecting New Zealand and the Cook Islands from Australia would provide more choice and competition on the route.
“The Cook Islands is a favourite destination for many New Zealanders,” Kerr said.”
All return flights originate from Sydney or Melbourne and Jetstar will offer Australian travellers connecting fares to Rarotonga via Auckland.
This will enable the Cook Islands to tap into the two biggest Australian tourism markets.
Source Islands Business International and SPTO