28 Dec 2016

Cooks tourism poised to beat all-time record

9:08 am on 28 December 2016

The Cook Islands' tourism industry is on track to cap off 2016 with record-breaking visitor arrival numbers for October.

Cook Islands News reports recently-released figures take the total number of visitors to the Cook Islands for the period to 122,254, just slightly over 3000 short of last year's total of 125,130.

A tropical beach, this one in the Cook Islands, but can be used as a general Pacific stock picture

A beach in the Cook Islands Photo: Megan Whelan

Looking at the trend over the years for November and December, over 20,000 visitors are expected to have been added to the total by the end of this year.

That will mean total visitor arrival numbers this year will surpass the all-time high of 140,000.

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation chief executive officer Halatoa Fua described 2016 as a remarkable year for the industry,

He said October marked the 11th consecutive record month of consistent growth since December last year.

"As far as we're concerned with visitor arrivals, it has been an exceptional year for tourism," he said.

The figures for October which were released by the Statistics Office recently, show a jump of 7.5 per cent in tourists heading to the Cook Islands, compared to the same period last year.

A total of 14,245 visitors were arrived in October - about 1000 more compared than in the same period last year.

New Zealand once again dominated the market, with 65 per cent of total visitors for the month.

This represented 9,289 tourists, 10 per cent more than the 8,455 who visited in October last year.

Visitors from New Zealand, according to the figures until October 31, had already surpassed last year's total visitor arrival number of 77,160 from there.

Halatoa Fua said a total of 80,637 New Zealanders visited by the end of October this year.

The number of Cook Islanders resident in New Zealand returning home also increased by 30 percent compared to October 2015.

The Australian market, the second biggest source of tourists to the Cook Islands, declined in October compared to the same period last year.

Total visitors from Australia for the month reached 2,177, six percent less than last October's 2,312.

However, the number of Cook Islanders resident in Australia who returned home rose by 27 per cent from 160 in October 2015 to 203 in October 2016.