Pacifc Resort Rarotonga Pacifc Resort Rarotonga

Cooks quickly generates interest, but what’s next?

The travel trade and clients have responded with enthusiasm to the Cook Islands Government’s announcement that two-way quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands will resume on 14 January 2022 (NZ time).

However, wholesalers and agents say they are now keenly waiting for more information on border openings in Q1 2022.

As it stands, the Cook Islands will be the only international destination that people in New Zealand can travel to and from for a holiday, without any quarantine or isolation.

Stuart McKay, director of Fuzion Travel, says it is ‘fantastic’ to have some certainty with the Cooks opening and an important step in the resurrection of the travel industry.

‘We look forward to the next phases of our opening to the rest of the world. We believe the complexities of international travel will ensure travel agents will play a vital role in the planning and execution of our clients’ travel plans now and into the future.’

Rick Felderhof, of Our Pacific, says the company already has new enquiry coming through for Cook Islands holidays.

‘Whilst there are new requirements, they make sense and hopefully provide confidence and surety with a framework that we can all work with.

‘Some clarity is still required on traveling with kids 11 years and younger, and rapid antigen testing for Aitutaki.’

John Willson, general manager retail at First Travel Group, says FTG is particularly pleased about the announcement of the Cooks reopening
so early in 2022.

‘This has come quicker than anticipated and will be the start of more Pacific destinations to come quarantine free.  We believe these destinations will be the life blood for 2022 and FTG in-house departments and members are totally ready for it.’

Steve Lee, director of NZ Travel Brokers, says NZTB is ‘delighted’ that someone has finally put a stake in the ground with regards to the Cook Islands.

‘I’m sure there will still be some caution until all the boxes are fully ticked. The false start earlier this year was soul-destroying for many of the team and we don’t want a repetition of that debacle. Fingers crossed for a seamless reopening.’

Graeme West, general manager of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation Australasia, says over 96% of its eligible population are fully vaccinated.

NZ gears up for quarantine-free travel

Air New Zealand is welcoming news that Kiwis can travel quarantine-free to the Cook Islands from early next year.

‘This is another exciting step towards more international travel,’ says chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty. Due to the continuation of the quarantine-free travel pause, the airline is in the process of contacting customers booked to travel to Rarotonga between now and 13 January with their options for travel. In other news, from today, New Zealand citizens, residents or holders of a Critical Purpose Visa from Tonga and Samoa will also be able to come into the country without having to quarantine.

NZ will operate one flight per week from both Samoa and Tonga to AKL, with the first quarantine-free flight departing Tonga tomorrow and Samoa from 13 November 2021.

Related items