8 Apr 2015

Canning Aitutaki Sunday flights could 'economic disaster'

3:38 pm on 8 April 2015

Tourism operators in Aitutaki in the Cook Islands say if Sunday flights between the island and Rarotonga are stopped it could be disastrous for the local economy.

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Photo: RNZ

The government has promised a referendum on the flights, saying there had been opposition from those who believe businesses shouldn't operate on Sundays.

The chief executive officer of Pacific Resort Hotel Group, which runs a resort on Aitutaki, says there has been a lift in the number of tourists since the flights were introduced.

Greg Stanaway says this has led to economic growth and more employment.

"We've seen great connectivity with our international flights, enabling tourists to come straight through to Aitutaki, we've obviously been able to increase our employment with the local people, we've obviously been able to put more into the economy. So really, doing a reverse on the Sunday flight would be quite disastrous I believe in terms of the economic benefit of Aitutaki as a whole."

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