23 Aug 2011

Cooks Tourism says Aitutaki robbery good publicity

1:00 pm on 23 August 2011

Cook Islands tourism officials say the recent international media attention over a bank robbery on Aitutaki can only be good for the local industry.

The island hit headlines after police confirmed it had suffered its first ever bank robbery, and thousands of dollars had been stolen.

The chief executive of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, Carmel Beattie, says it has been good publicity.

"There's a lot more people that have heard now about the beautiful island of Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, and they've also seen photographs, well, except in New Zealand where they saw the wrong island. And the fact that people are absolutely shocked to think that anyone would want to steal there. So it's a pretty positive image, really."

Carmel Beattie says the amount of money that was stolen has been vastly inflated in international reports, from 20,000 dollars to 200,000.

The Cook Islands police say the investigation is continuing.