Cook Islands Tourism
Destination Development team members Brad Kirner (Director of Destination Development) and Carlene Mapu (Interim Manager - Visitor Experience) recently visited the island of Atiu with a focus on progressing regenerative tourism initiatives.
Hosted by Atiu Tourism Officer Mareta Atetu, the team began with reviewing numerous tourism infrastructure projects around the island currently being developed with the support of CIT. They then met with local tourism industry members to discuss opportunities and challenges being faced, and finished by meeting with Atiu Island Council members including the newly appointed Mayor Tuainekore Samuel. This resulted in the signing of a refreshed MOU between the two parties which is very encouraging for all concerned.

Brad and Carlene were also able to enjoy the warm hospitality of the wider Atiuan community, and found time to familiarise themselves with a selection of visitor activities such as Birdman George, Punarea Cultural Tour and the Anatakitaki Caves.

Brad was full of praise after the visit; “this was my first time visiting the Pa Enua since starting my role at CIT, and Atiu did not disappoint. As we continue to turn our tourism development strategy into action it is incredibly important to have this genuine engagement with our Pa Enua industry members and wider community so that we can better understand what they value, what challenges and opportunities they face, and how the visitor offering can be tailored to bring optimal benefit.”

The Destination Development team were able to make a number of operational decisions during their time on-island, and took with them valuable insights, learnings, and ideas on what future projects may be best suited as they begin to plan work programmes for next financial year.