12 Dec 2011

Cook Islands warned that departure tax hurting the tourism industry

8:22 pm on 12 December 2011

New Zealand tourism agents have told the Cook Islands' that its high departure tax is affecting the country's tourism industry and should be absorbed into airfares.

Speaking at the Kia Orana Cook Islands tourism forum, New Zealand wholesaler Shelly Gutry says the departure tax of 43 US dollars leaves many with a sour taste because it's their last experience of the country.

Air New Zealand representatives say airfares will increase if the departure tax is included.

They told the forum that that could backfire on Cook Islands visitor figures through the higher cost of arriving at Rarotonga.

But the airline's local manager, David Bridge, says the topic will be considered in upcoming meetings.