27 Mar 2020

Covid-19: Resort owners on Cooks’ Aitutaki focus on post-pandemic future

9:53 am on 27 March 2020

Tourism operators on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands are facing the reality that they may not be open for business before the end of the year, a resort owner says.

Aitutaki, Cook Islands.

Aitutaki, Cook Islands. Photo: Ewan Smith

All the Pa Enua or outer islands are in isolation from Rarotonga and beyond.

In the meantime, Tamanu Resort's Nick Henry said Aitutaki tourism operators were looking forward to details of a government aid package and were focussed on maintenance and beautification programmes across the island.

Tamanu was committed to keeping on all staff but had had to cut back hours, he said.

Although he was still getting enquiries and bookings, Aitutaki might not be open again this year.

"So, let's try and wrap our heads around that and focus on coming out of this Covid-19 situation where Aitutaki will be a product that's shinier than ever."

He said locals were using the downtime amid Covid-19 to ensure the island would be better than ever when it eventually reopened for business.

Once the all-clear was given, Tamanu would partner up with the other big resorts on the island.

"It will give us a crew of around about 150 to 160 and our plan is to start beautification programmes around the island of Aitutaki. Things like planting flowers down the roads, beautifying the villages."

Mr Henry said they would also focus on the lagoon with coral nurseries and a clean-up of the smaller islands on the reef.

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