Cook Islands Tourism director of destination development Metua Vaiimene says this will give great opportunities for the outer island’s remote community.
And with five cruise ships expected to make stops in Rarotonga this month, Vaiimene said “the cruise ship sector remains an important part of the tourism industry”.
He said the cruise ship visitors to the Cook Islands numbered roughly 9000 people in 2018/19.
“Whilst this represents a small number when compared with total visitor arrivals to the Cook Islands, the cruise ship sector remains an important part of the tourism industry, especially because cruise ships visit our other islands,” he said.
Cook Islands Tourism continues to promote and support the cruise sectors, Vaiimene said.
He said they would join other members of the South Pacific Cruise Alliance to represent the local industry in Miami in April of this year, at Seatrade Cruise Global, the worlds’ largest annual cruise ship exposition.
With weather conditions being uncertain and sometimes affects the cruise call, Vaiimene hopes this month will be positive.
“While we have not had a good start to the cruise calendar this year, with all cruise calls in January cancelled due to weather, we are hoping that February will see an improvement on that.
“This issue highlights that our islands have no harbours or bays that can accommodate medium to large cruise ships, and thus we need to be strategic and managed.”
He said as a result the different businesses and agencies in the cruise sector plan as much as possible for different scenarios, including cancellation due to weather.
Two cruise ships Crystal Serenity and the MV Astor were expected to be in Rarotonga yesterday. About 300-400 passengers were on board each ship.
The next cruise ships visiting the country are – the Wind Spirit which is expected at Rarotonga today, Costa Deliziosa on February 20 and Amsterdam on February 24.