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.”