AVARUA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News/PINA, Jan. 1) - Total visitor arrivals to the Cook Islands in 2002 will fall short of 2001 record figures. But the total will run close, officials say.

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and the collapse of the Canada 3000 airline, government predicted a 13.6 percent drop in visitors to the Cook Islands in the first quarter of 2002.

But visitor arrivals through November were recorded at 66,834, about 2000 below the same period the year before.

With an approximate 6,000 additional visitors expected in December, the 2002 total is anticipated at around 72,000.

2001's visitor numbers hit a record 74,575, while the figure was just under 73,000 the previous year.

New Zealand was the most dominant market in 2002 with around 40 percent of visitors to the Cook Islands, followed by Europe with 26 percent.

January 2, 2003

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