19 Sep 2007

Cooks resort explains beach fee

3:12 pm on 19 September 2007

The Rarotongan Resort in Cook Islands has justified charging visiting tourists a fee to use the beachfront.

Staff have been told to charge each non-guest a 100 dollar a day fee to use the facilities, which includes use of the beach.

The resort's director, Tata Crocombe, says the beachfront is a private area for its own guests.

He says they have a right to charge due to the increasing number of non-guests making use of the resort's facilities for free.

"They tend to take over the pool and the sun lounges, and in some cases rack up bar bills they don't pay for etcetera. So it's really managing all the many hundreds of people that wish to come down. To give you an example, we have 150 sunlounges on the beach and sometimes our own guests can't get on to them and that's really the heart of the issue is that people not staying at the resort overrunning the resort's facilities."

Tata Crocombe says there are other parts of the beach that the public can access at no cost.

The Cook Islands Environment Service is seeking advice from the Crown Law office and the Cook Islands Investment Corporation over whether a resort can charge people for use of the beachfront, as it is considered to be public land.