Tourism & News Magazine - Italy

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Cook Islands Pocket Guide

Calm sea, crystal clear waters, white sands, and an atmosphere full of life: the Cook Islands are ready to relaunch in Italy and the rest of Europe: for this operation they rely on a roadshow that touches the main markets of a world so far away from the archipelago.

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation trusts travel agencies and tour operators to restart after years of isolation due to the pandemic, which the destination has been able to make the most of by capitalizing on domestic tourism from which a lot has been learned. Not only the well-known and paradisiacal Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and Atiu, but other of the 15 islands of the country scattered around the Pacific have equipped themselves to welcome domestic tourism and are now ready to face the international one as well. These are still small paradises, which we want to remain uncontaminated, so the sisters are ready to welcome a limited number of tourists and in truly interesting forms of sustainability and symbiosis with the environment, but the country intends to promote new tourist destinations.

The pivot of the new campaign will however remain Aitutaki, awarded at the World Travel Awards 2022 as the best island destination in all of Oceania, winning a recognition that for three consecutive years had been of Bora Bora. ''Our intention is to create a real myth around Aitutaki - explains Nicholas Costa Costantini, general manager of Southern Europe Cook Islands Tourism Corporation - to present it as the most beautiful island in the world, thanks to new images and new shots taken with drones''. 

''CITC's strategy on the Italian market will be to focus attention on making the traveler discover more islands in the same trip - explains Noeline Mateariki, the new Global Sales & Marketing Director of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation - so let's start talking about island hopping, also thanks to the many tours offered by the local DMC Tourama Pacific Travel Group, also to the Italian tourist, usually more settled than, for example, the German one. In this way, we also aim to increase the number of nights (now generally 8 or 9, perhaps at the end of a tourist package in the USA). We also want the Italian to think of Cook Islands as a destination, with a two-week stay, discovering various destinations with Air Rarotonga domestic flights that connect the various islands ''.

The Italian and German markets are principal markets together with the English ones, as far as Europe is concerned, even if they have marginal figures compared to 70% of entries in the country coming from New Zealand. Total visitors in the pre-Covid era were 171 thousand, Italy contributed to this excellent figure with 2000 arrivals without any direct flights. '' These are interesting numbers, more than reading in absolute terms, as far as growth is concerned, as 10 years ago it was recorded in the pre-covid era and the equalization by mid-2026 - commented Mateariki. Obviously, such important objectives can only pass from the increase in connections on the flight, and in fact, Cook Islands announces some news on this front, which is added to the Air New Zealand flights from Los Angeles, Sydney, and Auckland to the archipelago. In fact, since October, we fly from Papeete to Rarotonga with Air Rarotonga and Air Tahiti weekly.

''From the point of view of the hotel facilities we can ensure that they are 100% operational because unlike many other destinations in the Cook Islands, there is no shortage of staff - explains Robert Skews, general manager of Tourama Pacific Travel Group - We have two Italians, which ensure hospitality and private tours in Italian. The Cook Islands is indeed one of the destinations with the highest level of hospitality for this market ''.

Mana Tiaki, when the tourist preserves the environment, tourism has been sustainable for years in the Cook Islands, thanks to government laws that pay attention to every detail, from the prohibition of exceeding the height of the palms with constructions, to the prohibition of overwater for preserve the environment to many other dictates in favor of a pure and virgin environmental heritage. From now on the tourist promotion of the territory is enriched by a fundamental value for the Maori culture: the Mana Tiaki, which can be translated into the sacredness of the act of guarding and conserving our heritage for future generations.

''You land in this paradisiacal archipelago; needle that is the Cook Islands as a simple traveler, to enjoy a splendid sea and relaxation in front of the waves and become much more - explains this characteristic expression Noeline Mateariki - the tourist got rich by going to build something in these beautiful islands, and go home carrying in his heart a real connection with the destination, the place, and its people ''. The inhabitants of the Cook Islands are the custodians of an invaluable patrimonial to guarantee a balance between economic growth, both in terms of tourism, fishing or extractive activities, and conservation of biodiversity in the Ocean. Among the main attractions with a naturalistic theme of the sharks: the soul 1,065 million square kilometers include remote atolls, volcanic islands surrounded by coral reefs, pristine fauna with birds, whales, manta rays, and several species of sharks, some of which are at risk of extinction. Another excellent example of Mana Tiaki is the island of Atiu: home to about 400 proud warriors, there are few places in the world as unspoiled as Atiu, a reference point for lovers of good coffee, for its full range of Arabica blends, organically grown and harvested, and dried in amaro on the islands.

In Marae Moana a mural that welcomes tourists.

The hospitality of the inhabitants of the Cook Islands opens joyfully to tourists upon arrival at the airport, where they welcome those arriving in this paradise with folk songs and flower garlands. From now on, having crossed the customs, to welcome the; tourist there will also be a new mural, the most extensive in the whole South Pacific, which tells the story of the 15 islands belonging to the archipelago of New Zealand Polynesia through images created by the Mexican artist Gonzalo Aldana with the local Katu Teiti.