29 Jul 2013

Cook Islands most popular for New Zealand holiday makers

7:00 pm on 29 July 2013

The Cook Islands has overtaken Fiji as the most popular South Pacific holiday destination for New Zealanders, for the second year in a row.

According to research company Roy Morgan, 56,000 New Zealanders over the age of 14 travelled to the Cook Islands for a holiday in the year to May 2013.

Fiji came in second, attracting 45,000 New Zealand holiday-makers in the same time period.

The managing director of Flight Centre New Zealand, Michael Friend, says New Zealanders have always gone to Fiji, and perhaps they simply want to try something different.

"I think some of it would be that Cook Islands uses the New Zealand currency so you don't have to change money, so it's probably more open there as to how much the holiday is costing, I think Aitutaki is getting an increase in visitors as well. Perhaps some people that have been to Fiji in the higher end, are now going to the resorts in Aitutaki, which is one of the best beaches in the world."

Michael Friend says however Fiji Tourism is investing heavily right now, and he expects Fiji will be promoting very strongly over the next year to try get ahead of the Cook Islands again.

The CEO of Tourism Fiji, Rick Hamilton, says given that Fiji is favoured by families with young children, the Roy Morgan survey results don't reflect the true numbers.

He says according to Statistics NZ figures, Fiji remains the most popular South Pacific holiday destination for New Zealanders.