16 Apr 2008

New Cooks tourism boss aims at 40 percent growth

3:27 pm on 16 April 2008

The new head of tourism in the Cook Islands is targetting 40 percent growth in the industry.

John Dean, who is the new Australian chief executive of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, says numbers are increasing annually by five percent but the country can do better.

He wants to start by getting more Australians to visit and is discussing the possibility of direct flights from Sydney.

Mr Dean also says they will re-open a dedicated office in Los Angeles.

He says while the Cooks Islands currently caters for about 100,000 visitors a year, its infrastructure could support up to 140,000.

"We currently only get 10,000 Australians, as an example, to the Cook Islands in a year. Now that is just not acceptable numbers to me and I would suggest that we should be looking at between 20 and 25 thousand Australians annually between 18 months to two years, and if we can ensure that we continue to have flights from Los Angeles then that market will continue to grow."

John Dean.