Visitor arrivals to the Cook Islands are trending upwards at a rate of four percent, according to the arrival figures for last month.
The total number of visitors to the Cook Islands in the first three months of this year was 29,949. For the same period last year, 28,661 visited the country, meaning there has been a surge of four percent.
During March, 11,963 visitors were in the Cook Islands compared to 10,954 in March last year, representing an increase of nine percent.
By month, the most visitors in March this year were from Australia, which recorded an increase of 544, followed by New Zealand (312) and North America (144).
However, New Zealand, the country’s biggest tourism market, maintains the biggest incremental increase in visitors for the year to date (from January to March 2018) with 656, closely followed by Australia (601) and the United Kingdom (71).
The Japanese market recorded for the highest growth percentage March 2018, at 74 percent, followed by South Europe (55) and Australia (32).
Japan also recorded the highest growth percentage for the year to date from January to March this year at 30 percent, followed by South Europe (18) and Australia (13).
Cook Islands Tourism Corporation chief executive officer Halatoa Fua earlier said the corporation had identified stronger competition in their short-haul markets this year.
However, he said the visitor arrivals were still stronger than two years ago.
Fua said the tourism industry was expecting moderate growth in the coming months.
The school holidays in New Zealand this month could result in a massive surge in visitor arrivals to the Cook Islands when the April figures are released next month.
“Our goal is to continue growing all markets. That said, given the sizeable increase we have enjoyed in the last two years, we expect growth to be modest,” Fua said.
Last year, a total of 161,362 visitors came to the Cook Islands, compared to 146,473 in 2016, representing an increase of nine percent.
Tourism is the country’s major income earner, contributing to about 60 percent of the Cook Islands’ gross domestic product (GDP).
(Source: Cook Islands Local News 27 April 2018)