No home by the sea

Thursday November 14, 2019 Written by Published in Local
Locals are being driven out of resort areas like the mecca of Muri. 19111339 Locals are being driven out of resort areas like the mecca of Muri. 19111339

Tourism is a critical part of the Cook Islands economy but not everyone feels they benefit directly from the ever-growing industry.

Local people are facing an increasing challenge to find long-term rentals as property owners are opting to rent short term for more money.

The substantial rental cost of long term renting is another existing issue and some long-term rental profits are being sent overseas while visitors continue to outnumber locals.

Cook Islands Tourism has reported back the results of three studies: the International Visitor Survey, the Business Confidence Index Survey and the Community Survey on how people feel about tourism. 

New Zealand Tourism Research Institute Director Professor Simon Milne, who oversaw the surveys, said: “We can clearly see a high level of support for tourism in the Cook Islands. People are proud to be living in a place that attracts tourists.”

But the community survey indicated long-term rental availability would be a challenge for the country.

More than 1000 people responded to the community survey, which showed the biggest demand for long-term rentals was from residents on Rarotonga.

“On Rarotonga we see many people are agreeing with the statement that it’s becoming harder to find long-term rental accommodation because of rental properties turning into Airbnbs. But I’m not sure this has reached a critical stage yet,” said Milne.

Milne has been working with Cook Islands Tourism to gather this information to manage tourism effectively.

The Business Confidence Index Survey has showed businesses no longer think increasing tourism numbers is a priority, instead, more agree it is important to maximise what visitors spend.

The average tourist stays up to eight days on Rarotonga and spends on average $1887.

Milne said: “Businesses are saying tourism is really great but they are realising we can’t just keep growing those numbers.”


  • Comment Link Krystle Sunday, 17 November 2019 12:06 posted by Krystle

    Hi yes cook islands people should earn more money ambecause living and etc is very expensive its just ridiculous

  • Comment Link Maureen Hilyard Thursday, 14 November 2019 14:47 posted by Maureen Hilyard

    Cook Islands Tourism has always been at the forefront of government departments because they are both strategic in their decision-making and this is based on research. The banks and government policies create an economic environment where property owners are forced to set rental fees that will meet their debts. But at the same time our visitor levels should be maintained to the capacity level of our infrastructure. Tourism research is showing that growing visitor numbers is not sustainable - the impacts are negative due to the pressure that is being put on our environment and an infrastructure standard that is barely meeting the needs of our local resident population. The government should maintain visitor levels that fill registered hotel accommodation and private homes that are registered for short term rentals, so that locals can still access other more affordable rentals that could be made available and negotiated for longer term.

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