Resort owner calls for Cook Islands bubble with NZ

A resort owner in Rarotonga is calling for New Zealand to reopen travel to the Cook Islands, before opening up to Australia.

The Rarotongan managing director Tata Crocombe

The Rarotongan managing director Tata Crocombe. Photo: Cook Islands News

The managing director of the resort chain says the Cook Islands would be the easiest place for New Zealand to open to and could serve as a test before opening up to the much larger trans-Tasman market.

The Cook Islands has not recorded a single case of the coronavirus.

A community leader in Rarotonga, Tere Carr, says local are keen to open up a Pacific travel bubble with New Zealand, provided Australia is not included.

“We would be really hesitant if the border with Australia was opened because it would just take one person to slip through and that’s the danger we face here.”

Tata Crocombe, from the Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium, said he was stunned the Cook Islands weren’t the first country to be considered for opening borders.

“The Cook Islands’ economy is 87 percent dependant on tourism, whereas New Zealand is only 10 percent. We don’t need a financial bail out, we just need to get back to tourism.

“There doesn’t seem to be any logical reason why New Zealand can’t allow the public to enjoy the Cook Islands for their tropical holidays right away.”

Act Party Leader David Seymour is backing the call to open a Cook Islands bubble and told Morning Report there’s no obvious reason why we can’t do it.

“There’s no Covid in the Cooks, there’s none here; if you can fly from Auckland to Invercargill, it’s not obvious why you can’t go to Rarotonga.

“It’s really important for our friends in the Pacific because they make around $200 million a year out of New Zealand tourists and, like a lot of people, they’re in need of that help.”

Seymour said if we don’t stay connected with our Pacific neighbours, some other nation might.

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