Visitors to Rarotonga got a firsthand experience in the art of making flower ei during Tourism Week (Epetoma O Te Turoto) festivities yesterday at Maire Nui Park in Avarua.
With support from the Cook Islands Tourism staff and members of the community, a handful of tourists were able to observe and make their own ei on the second day of the week-long celebration.
Cook Islands Tourism director of destination development, Metua Vaiimene said the activities were a way of highlighting the importance of culture, arts and crafts, and community to the tourism industry.
“It’s also a fun way of engaging visitors with Tourism Week. After all, we are celebrating everything about tourism and our visitors are a central part of that,” he said.
Vaiimene said they had received a good response from the visitors to activities so far this week.
On Monday, a demonstration of tivaivai (traditional quilting and embroidery) was held.
World Tourism Day will be observed today and the A1 Meitaki Awards ceremony for Rarotonga will also be held.
The A1 Meitaki Awards recognise service excellence in the tourism industry and will be awarded to individuals and businesses nominated by visitors to the Cook Islands.
“We will be here every day this week except for Thursday, which is a state funeral day. Out of respect for mama Karika (Dame Margaret Makea Karika Ariki), we won’t be having an event on Thursday, but our visitors can come on Friday when we will have a coconut husking demonstration, raw fish making and our Ura fitness class.”
Meanwhile, members of the public can tune into Cook Islands Television tonight at 7.30pm to watch and hear an array of opinions and perspectives on the development of tourism in the Cook Islands.
Organised by Cook Islands Tourism, the topic for the tourism debate is, “That Tourism advances the wellbeing of resident Cook Islanders”. The panelists in the debate are Cook Islands Tourism Corporation staff, with three representing the affirmative team and three posing the negative aspects of the topic.
The affirmative team will include Metua Vaiimene, Sandee Cook and Nane Teokotai, while Daniel Fisher, Sieni Tiraa and Maire McFadzien make up the negative team.
“The timely debate has raised many valuable points to initiate some discussion around the future direction of tourism in the Cook Islands,” said Tiraa, the Cook Islands Tourism destination development coordinator and a member of the negative team.
“It was tough, being on the team that was against the statement that ‘Tourism advances the wellbeing of resident Cook Islanders,’ as I’m directly benefitting from this industry. However, we cannot remain blindsided to the challenges that this industry has created to our infrastructure, labour market base, environment, culture/traditions and people.”
The purpose of the debate is to encourage community conversation aligned with the release of a community survey.
(Source: Cook Islands News 27 September 2017)