Rachel Reeves
Photography By
Cook Islands Tourism

Readers of popular Travel + Leisure magazine prefer “a little paradise”

LOS ANGELES, July 8, 2020 – Travel + Leisure Magazine, one of the world’s most popular travel magazines, today announced that its readers voted the Cook Islands the No. 1 island in the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand.

“We are honoured to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the people of the Cook Islands,” said Halatoa Fua, chief executive officer of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation. “We thank Travel + Leisure and your incredible audience for choosing the Cook Islands for its unique and authentic experiences.”

Each year, as part of the World’s Best Awards, Travel + Leisure asks readers to rate islands based on activities, sights, natural attractions, beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.

The Cook Islands, a South Pacific nation made up of 15 islands and populated by just over 17,000 people, is located in the same time zone as Hawai’i and borders French Polynesia. The country, which markets itself as “a little paradise,” has been described by avid travelers as Hawaiʻi 50 years ago, before traffic and high rises, except there are modern amenities such as luxury spas and fine-dining restaurants. The Cook Islands boasts landscapes that travel guide publishers and magazine editors have called the most beautiful in the world.

“We are blessed with a pristine and tranquil destination but more so for the ‘kia orāna’ spirit and welcoming nature of the Cook Islands people,” Fua said.

Kia orāna is a greeting in the Cook Islands Māori language, which translates to, “may you live long.” It is an apt representation of the Cook Islands culture, which encompasses a deeply embedded sense of hospitality as well as more vibrant elements, such as impressive dancing and drumming.

Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards have been announced every August since 1995. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the contest, which hinges on a survey that asks readers to indicate which airlines, airports, car rental agencies, cities, cruise lines, spas, hotels, islands, and tour operators they prefer. Research consultants collaborate with the magazine’s editors to design questions that are statistically sound. Responses are screened for fraudulent votes.

In 2019, the Cook Islands was voted fourth, behind Fiji, Moorea (French Polynesia) and Waiheke Island in New Zealand.

This year’s results will be published in the August 2020 issue of Travel + Leisure and were announced on this morning.