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Paradise found – inflight safety video spotlights Aitutaki, Cook Islands

February 14, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Wondering where to find paradise? Well according to Sports Illustrated and Air New Zealand it can be found on the exquisite coral atoll of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands.

AIR NZ SI HEROAir New Zealand and Sports Illustrated partnered to produce Safety in Paradise, the latest instalment in the airline’s innovative safety video series, in the beautiful Cook Islands.

Safety in Paradise features some of the world’s top models on location in Aitutaki, including Australia’s Jessica Gomes who, in a behind the scenes teaser video, described Aitutaki Lagoon’s turquoise blue waters as “incredible”.  Chrissy Teigen, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model from the United States, said: “I’ve been to a lot of beaches. Nothing quite like this though. This is pretty unreal.”

The massive global reach of the campaign will focus worldwide attention on the tiny Cook Islands nation of 15 islands and 15,000 residents and in particular romantic Aitutaki, population 2000, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

“Cook Islands Tourism is extremely excited and grateful that Air New Zealand and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit chose Aitutaki as the location for Safety in Paradise.  We are very proud that the amazing people, vibrant culture and stunning scenery of the Cook Islands feature. The marketing exposure is phenomenal and we look forward to greeting more visitors from all over the world,” says Halatoa Fua, chief executive of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation.

Though a mere dot in the South Pacific – located 220 nautical miles north of the Cook Islands capital of Rarotonga – Aitutaki’s vast triangular lagoon, clear turquoise waters and spectacular beaches long ago put it on the map as one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

AirNZ_Paradise__77Q7983Fly to paradise in just six hours

 “The good news for Australians is we can fly direct to paradise in just six hours,” says Kerryn Cook, General Manager Australia for Cook Islands Tourism. Air New Zealand flies direct from Sydney to Rarotonga every Saturday evening and flights to Rarotonga are also available via Auckland. Air Rarotonga operates the 45 minute flight between Rarotonga and Aitutaki several times daily.

“About three quarters of the 23,000 Australians who visited the Cook Islands last year took the opportunity to visit Aitutaki as well as Rarotonga, another tropical idyll,” says Ms Cook.

All the locations and cultural experiences seen in Safety in Paradise, as well as the Cooks’ relaxed ‘Island Time’ approach to life, can be readily enjoyed by visitors to Aitutaki — including One Foot Island – a stop on several lagoon day cruises, a traditional umu (earth oven) feast, mesmerising Cook Islands dancing and drumming shows, the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa and Pacific Resort Aitutaki.

Those almost-as-good-looking Cook Islanders helping the models demonstrate the beauty of safety are all genuine locals, many working in the tourism industry. You might encounter the oxygen mask demonstrator or the three men paddling the vaka (canoe) past Jessica Gomes crewing on lagoon cruises in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Cook Islanders are famous for their friendliness and warm welcome so be sure to greet them with a hearty Kia Orana, which means ‘May you live long’.

View the video at and you could win one of five trips for two to the Cook Islands.

To celebrate the launch of Safety in Paradise, Air New Zealand is promoting a six day sale on its direct Sydney to Rarotonga service. The sale commences AEDT 12.01am Wednesday 12 February and ends AEDT 11.59pm Monday 17 February 2014. Travel periods are 15 February – 5 April and 26 April – 27 June 2014.  The ‘seat only’ one way fares start from $289 per person. Book at Terms and conditions apply.

Aitutaki also stars in The Living Room’s Valentine’s Day-themed series return on Channel 10 this Friday night at 7.30pm and Getaway on Channel 9 on Saturday at 5.30pm.

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