23 Mar 2010

Cooks tourism resignations alarm opposition

1:33 pm on 23 March 2010

A leading Cook Islands opposition politician says the resignation of two key staff members at the tourism office must serve as an urgent wake-up call for the government.

The Democratic Party leader, Sir Terepai Maoate, says the resignations of the acting chief executive, Glenda Tuaine, and the New Zealand marketing manager, Chris Ingram, leave the tourism office and the industry in a serious predicament.

Sir Terepai says he's been told both former staffers have cited excessive interference by the board chairman, Tata Crocombe, and a board that's ineffective.

He says the Tourism Minister, Robert Wigmore, has known for some time about the problems at the office but has failed to act.

A leading tourism operator on Rarotonga, Rohan Ellis, says the departure of Glenda Tuaine will set back tourism promotions and development work by years.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, he accuses Mr Crocombe and his peers on the board of systematic destruction of the industry.