WITH MORE AIRLINE SEATS, ARE THERE ENOUGH COOK ISLANDS ROOMS FOR TOURISTS?

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By Florence Syme-Buchanan

AVARUA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (March 22, 2000 – Cook Islands News)---The tourism industry here may have to seriously consider whether there are enough available accommodations to cope with an anticipated increase in visitors from Air Pacific's twice weekly service that's to start in June this year.

Air New Zealand spokesman in Auckland Cameron Hill says, "A balance needs to be maintained between the seats on offer and what the tourism infrastructure in the Cooks can support."

"Air New Zealand understands that this infrastructure is currently at full stretch and the introduction of additional capacity by both Qantas/Air Pacific and Canada 3000 could be counterproductive, particularly in terms the major source market of New Zealand."

Hill says in recent times the airline "has invested heavily in improving the level of services to and from the Cook Islands, and fostering a more open exchange of information about tourism matters between the airline and local interests.

"Air New Zealand knows it has a good product for the inbound tourist. The introduction of what is termed the 'hubbing' of flights at Auckland has improved connectivity to other destinations, particularly for tourists from Australia, and this should be reflected in recent arrival figures," he says.

Over the last two years Air New Zealand has increased the number of direct flights between Auckland and Rarotonga from three to five per week and "has actively been considering moving to a daily schedule."

There is also an additional indirect, once a week service.

For additional reports from the Cook Islands News Online, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Cook Islands News Online.

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