A group representing Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, Turuma Pacific Travel Group, Manuia Beach Resort and the Edgewater Resort will spend six days in Tokyo visiting key travel wholesalers in the Japanese capital.
They will also meet up with newly-appointed Cook Islands representative Mr Keizaburo Mori, whose company, Deepblue LLC, is responsible for marketing and promoting the Cook Islands in Japan.
A Tourism Corporation spokesman said the Cook Islands had engaged with travel business in Japan for many years, but growth had been largely through the efforts of the private sector.
“The corporation has formally identified Japan as an emerging market, and given the market’s regular access to New Zealand, there is opportunity for the Cook Islands to tap into this potential.”
Deepblue LLC specialises in marketing and communication in the field of tourism and has particular strengths in branding, PR and Internet marketing.
Mori himself has over 18 years of tourism industry experience.
His business relationship with South Pacific islands started in 1995 when he visited the Cook Islands for the first time and he is considered one of the pioneers in introducing and developing Japanese wholesale tour products for the South Pacific islands.
He has worked for Tahiti Tourisme Japan since 2001.
Turuma Pacific Travel Group managing director Robert Skews said Mr Mori’s appointment had already proved positive. “It makes a difference having someone there who is focused on the nuances of the market.”
Japanese travellers were becoming more adventurous and rather than travelling in large groups as they once did, were getting into individual or small group travel, Skews said.
“We have had some small groups of Japanese visiting the Cook Islands and they’re quite happy to go to somewhere like Atiu, for example.
“They like to be able to meet local people, mix with them, and see how they live.”
Three Cook Islands dancers will be in Japan at the same time as the Rarotonga group and will peform at an annual dance festival, giving this country further exposure to potential visitors, says Skews.
The travel industry group will leave Rarotonga today and return on May 28.