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Cook Islands vaccine “icing on the cake”

May 14, 2021 Coronavirus (Covid-19) No Comments
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COVID-19 vaccinations for Cook Islanders will be one of the best things that’s happened there in 14 months, said the General Manager of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation for Australasia, Graeme West.

Responding to today’s announcement that the Pfizer vaccine is expected to be on board the first quarantine-free flight between New Zealand and the Cook Islands on Tuesday next week, Mr West said the news just keeps getting better.

He said rolling out the vaccine at the same time as the borders were opening was the “icing on the cake” and represented a significant change of fortune for the nation.

“The vaccine will add another layer of comfort for both locals and visitors,” said Mr West.  “It will allow Cook Islanders to fully embrace the reality of welcoming visitors.  And it will assure visitors that their health and safety is being taken very seriously.”

Mr West said the Cook Islands is very fortunate to have remained COVID-19 free and has made the health and wellbeing of its citizens its top priority.  With vaccinations starting on 19 May, people on Rarotonga and Aitutaki could be fully vaccinated by late June.

The Cook Islands closed its borders in March 2020, immediately reducing visitor numbers to zero. Because tourism is the mainstay of its economy, this has caused financial hardship for many people.

Mr West said New Zealanders are always welcomed very warmly in the Cook Islands and that tourism providers will be doing everything possible to ensure people have a fantastic holiday. 

”We’re looking forward with much anticipation to welcoming Kiwis back to our beautiful islands and we hope Australia will be next,” he said.  “We’re getting ready to go and to showcase everything that we’re renowned for – our warm tropical weather, stunning natural beauty, friendliness and hospitality and our great food.”

Contact tracing will play an important part in ensuring that quarantine free travel continues; and visitors will be encouraged to use Cooksafe and Cooksafe+ to assist. The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation has also produced a Cook Islands Promisea short list of what is needed to keep locals and visitors safe. Information on this promise and FAQs detailing what travellers need to know before departing NZ can be found on www.cookislands.travel

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