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GOVERNMENT OF THE COOK ISLANDS National Statistics Office Rarotonga, Cook Islands

MEDIA RELEASE February 12, 1999

Provisional figures compiled by the National Statistics Office show that visitor arrivals for January 1999 are up 15% over arrivals in January 1998.

After almost a year of monthly declines in tourist numbers, the increase in January is the fourth consecutive month where numbers were up over the corresponding month in the previous year.

The percentage increases for October, November and December 1998 were +19%, +13% and +10% respectively (see graph).

Percent Change in Visitor Arrivals Compared to Same Month in the Preceding Year

Tourism is the main driver of the economy and a major contributor to government revenue so increases in tourist arrivals are a critical requirement for bringing about economic growth and creating jobs.

A revival in tourism, a boost from construction, increased pearl production and a reversal in out-migration have been taken into account in a recent growth forecast. Gross domestic product (a measure on economic activity) is expected to increase 4.4% in 1999/2000. This follows three years of negative growth, which resulted from the fiscal crisis of 1995/96 and the adjustments necessary to deal with this.

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