There were 38 cruise ships scheduled for the 2018 calendar year, with about 15 of those cruise ships scheduled for Rarotonga and 15 to Aitutaki. The remaining were scheduled to visit the northern group islands.
Cook Islands Tourism Corporation’s destination development coordinator Sieni Tiraa said the cancellation rate was mainly due to the condition of the weather.
High swells made it difficult for the cruise ships to transfer the passengers to the shore on the ships’ tender.
Despite some passengers missing out on the opportunity to enjoy the offering on Rarotonga and Aitutaki, the local vendors recorded good business from those who were able to visit these islands.
“The benefits to the local businesses has been vast with the daily excursions contributing significantly to the local economy through tours, foreign exchange, local bus rides, cafes, telecommunications and so forth,” Tiraa said.
“The private sector continues to play a major role in growing cruise tourism to the Cook Islands.”
Cruise Cook Islands and Turama Pacific Travel Group have the working relationships needed with international and regional cruise line companies, to entice them to visit the Cook Islands in 2019 and beyond, she said.
“Cook Islands Tourism will continue to work with our partners in the South Pacific Cruise Alliance, and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation, which includes countries such as Tahiti and Fiji.
“More exploration will be made towards the expedition cruise market, along with encouraging calls by vessels along the Tahiti to Fiji Cruise routes.
“A limited number of marketing activities will be undertaken to support this sector beginning at Seatrade Global in March, the world’s largest cruise tourism expo held annually in Florida, United States.”