A Mutual Commitment to Keeping One Another Safe
The people of the Cook Islands are known for being hospitable hosts. In years unblighted by a global pandemic, the country welcomes more than 160,000 travellers to its sandy white shores.
These visitors write in postcards, magazines, guidebooks, and online forums about the warm, caring nature of the local people, whose cultural code includes treating all humans as guests. It is not the Cook Islands way to consider someone a mere customer. This ethos is woven through the standards of care developed for the tourism industry and forms the essence of the country’s response to COVID-19.
In anticipation of welcoming tourists back to the Cook Islands, residents are taking the Cook Islands Promise, a pledge developed jointly by Cook Islands Tourism, the Cook Islands Ministry of Health, and the Office of the Prime Minister, which binds hosts and guests in a mutual commitment to keeping one another safe.
The Cook Islands Promise asks travellers to see their doctor before departing and to consider taking other measures, including bringing their own snorkel gear. It also outlines protocols for anyone in the Cook Islands, both residents and guests. These include avoiding crowded places when possible, remaining two metres away from other people, and staying at home or in an accommodation facility if any symptoms present. The Cook Islands Promise demands careful hygiene, including frequent hand washing and hand sanitising, and advises everyone in the Cook Islands to avoid unnecessarily touching surfaces in public.
Another layer of the pledge pertains to businesses and spaces tourists are likely to enter. For example, dinner reservations will be required in order to reduce crowding at restaurants. At motels, hotels, and holiday homes, check-in will require minimal contact, luggage will be delivered directly to rooms, and servicing will be contactless. The pledge also reminds everyone in the Cook Islands to call the Ministry of Health with concerns or questions.
“This approach ensures our whole community is taking responsibility to keep ourselves safe, not just residents but visitors too, who are a part of our community,” said Dr. Aumea Herman, who runs the Ministry of Health. To review the full Cook Islands Promise before planning a trip to paradise, visit cookislands.travel/our-promise.
In mid-June, the government and a taskforce representing the private sector launched CookSafe, a system designed with support from the team that made codeREADr, a barcode scanning tool with integrated web service.
KIA ORANA PLUS
Rapid Training Programme
The Kia orana Plus Training rapid training programme was developed in collaboration with industry partners. The training covers how we need to ‘do and act’ during these times. Participants will also gain access to further government assistance and resources.