The Cook Islands has said that next week’s vaccine delivery is the “icing on the cake”, as it prepares for quarantine-free travel with New Zealand from 17 May.
There are bright days ahead for Cook Islanders.
From 17 May, the New Zealand, Cook Islands two-way quarantine-free travel bubble agreement will open, with Air New Zealand launching a 2-3 times weekly service, using its 787-9 fleet between New Zealand and Rarotonga.
According to Graeme West, Cook General Manager of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation for Australasia, Cook Islanders are “waiting with open arms and big smiles” to greet their first visitors in over a year.
The “icing on the cake”
As if that isn’t enough excitement for the month (especially after the year we’ve all had), there has been an announcement today that the Pfizer vaccine is expected to be on board the first quarantine-free flight between the two countries on Tuesday next week.
General Manager of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation for Australasia, Graeme West said the news just keeps getting better.
“COVID-19 vaccinations will be one of the best things that’s happened there in 14 months”.
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.”
We can’t wait to visit again
When the Cook islands opens back up, 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 Promise, a shortlist 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
Until Australia joins NZ and launches a bubble with the Cook Islands, we can Karryon dreaming and start planning the amazing adventures we will have when travel returns.
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