25 Feb 2005

Cook Islands tourism shows flexibility after cyclones

4:19 pm on 25 February 2005

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation chief executive officer Chris Wong says their industry has done well to avoid a big number of tourist cancellations in the wake of three cyclones hitting the country in two weeks.

Tourism accounts for more than 40 percent of the Cook Islands' gross domestic product and Mr Wong says efforts are being made to insure against dampening of interest in travel to the country.

The damage caused by the cyclones, and Olaf in particular, put 5 percent of the Cooks accommodation capacity out of commission but Mr Wong says that is relatively little.

He says moves by the accommodation and airline sectors in waiving cancellation fees and offering flexibility in travel dates has been welcomed in the marketplace.

"We have not seen any mass cancellations from any market, which is quite fortunate, because we've kept the trade in particular informed right throughout. People are generally choosing to either defer their travel a little or still come and be placed in alternate accommodation, particularly where the accommodation they chose might have been damaged."

Chris Wong