6 Dec 2017

Cook Islands visitors up but concern over sustainability

6:47 am on 6 December 2017
Rarotonga airport

Rarotonga airport Photo: RNZI Walter Zweifel

Visitor numbers to the Cook Islands are projected to hit a new milestone of 150,000 for the 2017 year but some locals worry the country can't sustain the tourists.

Statistics covering arrivals until the end of October show a growth of 10 per cent.

The Cook Islands Tourism chief executive officer Halatoa Fua said there had been notable growth in the low and shoulder seasons.

But the Cook Islands News reported there had been objections voiced to the ever-increasing number of visitors and calls made to government to slow down tourism growth.

A cap on the number of tourists has been suggested, as well as more focus on infrastructure improvements and utility upgrades, to cope with the growing number of visitors some locals fear is unsustainable.

The Cook Islands local population for 2016 stood at just over 17,000 and some months the country recorded more than 16,000 visitors.

Beach in Rarotonga

Beach in Rarotonga Photo: RNZI Walter Zweifel

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