6 Feb 2012

Social networking a factor in more Cook Islands tourists

4:33 am on 6 February 2012

The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation is partially attributing an increase in visitor numbers to its online presence.

Last year, more than 112,000 tourists injected an estimated 260 million US dollars into the economy, contributing to a total 12 percent rise in visitors over the past two years.

The corporation's chief executive officer, Carmel Beattie, predicts the numbers will be even higher by the end of this financial year and are being boosted by social networks such as Facebook.

"In fact we've gone from I think it was something like at the beginning of the year we had 8,000 Facebook followers across the world and now we've got something like 34 and by far New Zealand has got the highest number of Facebook followers and we're really working on that."

Carmel Beattie says the Ministry of Finance is forecasting only two-and-a-half percent growth for 2012 but she's hoping to blow that out of the water.