Prime Minister Brown meets Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran

Cook Islands Tourism

Prime Minister Mark Brown met with Air New Zealand's Chief Executive Officer, Greg Foran today. This first-time visit by Foran sparked a spirited dialogue with Prime Minister Brown engaging in high-level discussions about what lies ahead for the Cook Islands and its key commercial airline partner.

The Cook Islands have experienced a robust year for 2023, witnessing a resurgence in business as international airlift to Rarotonga continues to grow. Against this backdrop of positive momentum in the Cook Islands' tourism sector, the meeting provided a valuable platform for both parties to reaffirm the strong and mutually beneficial partnership between Air New Zealand and the Cook Islands.

Key highlights of the meeting encompassed the state of Cook Islands Tourism, with optimistic growth projections. Air New Zealand's vital role as the primary airline partner for the Cook Islands, particularly within the New Zealand market, which contributes significantly to inbound arrivals (constituting approximately 70% of all visitor arrivals), was a focal point. The meeting also delved into the newly established partnership, the Tourism Leadership Programme, designed to nurture the knowledge, skills, and experiences of talented Cook Islanders aspiring to pursue careers in Tourism and Hospitality.

Prime Minister Brown underscored his commitment to fostering a forward-looking relationship with Air New Zealand, emphasizing the Cook Islands' people and their environment as central to their discussions. He expressed, "From our discussion today Greg and I agreed that there is indeed a strong historic tie that remains and that our product as a tourism destination remains a popular choice for Kiwis. We have common aspirations for people and place and I anticipate that alignment will assist in driving the partnership with Air New Zealand, cement tourism business, and ensure the success of our tourism future – airlift is key to this. Together, we will explore new avenues for cooperation and growth while nurturing the next generation, preserving the unique culture and environmental treasures of our beautiful nation."

Foran was accompanied by key members of the airline's executive team, including Mat Bolland, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Brent Roxburgh, Head of Pacific Islands, and Addrienne Tinirau-Hosking, Cook Islands Country Manager.

For media enquiries and further information, please contact:
Karla Eggelton, Chief Executive Officer, Cook Islands Tourism Corporation