13 Nov 2017

Cooks environmentalists back curb on tourism

11:57 am on 13 November 2017

The Cook Islands environmental organisation Te Ipukarea Society says tourism growth on the main island of Rarotonga is not sustainable in its current form.

Kelvin Passfield of Te Ipukarea Society

Kelvin Passfield of Te Ipukarea Society. Photo: RNZ/ Sally Round

The society's director Kelvin Passfield said the organisation was not anti-tourism, but it supported the stance of MP Sel Napa who has urged government to slow down tourism growth because of the impact it is having on the island.

Mr Passfield said Rarotonga's current infrastructure could not cope with the current rise in tourism.

He said his group was keen on more low density accommodation, with families making their houses available for short term rental.

"It's usually one house on a quarter acre of land. It's not 50 units squeezed onto a half acre of beachfront property, so the impact of their septic systems and their laundry on the environment is much less and it much more spread out. So the environment should be able to handle a less densely populated tourism area."

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