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Travel Bubble With Cook Islands Resumes Today

  • Two-way quarantine-free travel resumes with Cook Islands today
  • Only country in the world Kiwis can visit without restrictions
  • Unique opportunity to visit island paradise without other tourists

Cook Islands tourism restarts today, ending a five-month border closure due to COVID-19.

Graeme West, General Manager Australasia for Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, said today’s first flight of quarantine-free travel from New Zealand to the Cook Islands is very significant for the country and means people can start rebuilding their lives after a dreadful 2020 and 2021 for the vitally important tourism sector.

“It’s a huge relief all round and people are looking forward with much excitement to welcoming Kiwis back to our beautiful islands,” he said. “We’re ready to go and to showcase everything that we’re renowned for - our warm tropical weather, stunning natural beauty, friendliness, hospitality and great food.”

Extraordinary time to visit

Mr West said it was an incredibly special time to visit Rarotonga and Aitutaki. With borders only open to people travelling from New Zealand, it was possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity for Kiwis to have the islands all to themselves.

“Kiwis are always welcomed very warmly in the Cook Islands and tourism providers will be doing everything possible to ensure people have a fantastic holiday. We’re waiting with open arms to greet guests.

“And for Kiwis keen for offshore adventure, the Cook Islands is the only international destination right now that they can travel to and from without quarantine or isolation at either end of their trip.”

Economic boost

Tourism is the mainstay of the Cook Islands’ economy comprising 70% of GDP.

Last year, the travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Islands was in place for just three months, between May and August, following a previous 15-month border closure due to COVID-19. Mr West said this has caused financial hardship for many people. He said the Government had done an exceptional job of keeping the Cook Islands COVID-19 free so far and that the health and safety of its people and visitors had been its number one priority. “98% of the population 12 years and over are fully vaccinated and booster shots are currently underway, with vaccinations for children aged 5-11 years starting soon.”

Requirements for travel to the Cook Islands from today (Friday 14 January 2022) are:

Vaccinated travellers only

All visitors must be aged over 12 years and be fully vaccinated. Once children 5-11 years of age in the Cook Islands and NZ are vaccinated, they will be allowed to visit.

COVID-19 test required before departure

Visitors must take an accredited PCR COVID-19 test no more than 48 hours before departure from Auckland and show the negative result at departure and on arrival. Travel to Aitutaki is permitted with no further test required for those connecting straight through from Rarotonga, but travellers who are staying in Rarotonga prior to going to Aitutaki, will be required to undergo a Rapid Antigen Test before boarding their domestic flight.

Contact tracing and pre-arrival forms

Visitors will be required to complete a Cook Islands contact form no more than 96 hours before departing New Zealand. To assist with tracing in the Cook Islands, travellers will be required to download the Cooksafe+ Bluetooth app as well as use their personal Cooksafe QR code card given on arrival.

FAQs for travellers can be found on www.cookislands.travel & will be updated progressively as various protocols are confirmed.

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