7 Nov 2012

Departure tax from Cook Islands to be included in ticket prices

5:13 am on 7 November 2012

From the beginning of December the departure tax paid by people leaving the Cook Islands will be included in ticket prices.

The financial secretary Richard Neves says the government made the switch to stop tourists getting a nasty surprise at the airport.

He says people who travel to the Cook Islands often have a wonderful time and then on departure face the demand for a tax that most would travellers assume had been incorporated into the ticket price.

From next July the departure tax will increase to about 54 US dollars from 45 dollars and Mr Neves says this is not high compared with other destinations, including New Zealand.

He says it is difficult to ascertain whether the built-in departure tax will affect tourist numbers, but he says the Cooks are following a worldwide trend, as 11 other countries, including Fiji, Germany, India and Spain have made the move this year.