COOK ISLANDS HOSTS INTERNATIONAL TOURISM WHOLESALERS

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Promotion roundtable largest of its kind

By Eric Parnis RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Dec. 7, 2011) - Aitutaki pulled out all its tricks to wow and woo visiting tourism wholesalers on Monday and Tuesday, who were touring the island as part of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporations mammoth tourism roundtable Kia Orana Cook Islands.

[PIR editor’s note: Also known traditionally as Araura, Ararau and Utataki, Aitutaki is an island of the Cooks situated north of Rarotonga. Positioned on the left side of the island is the capital, Arutanga. Population stands at approximately 2,000 inhabitants - with a total land area of 18.05 square kilometers.]

Minister for Tourism Teina Bishop said the event was likely the biggest of its type for the Cook Islands and for Aitutaki and the community was making sure they got their message across.

About 70 international tourism industry members representing airlines, trade publications, wholesalers, online agencies, marketers and more took a whirlwind tour of Aitutaki as one of the first official functions of the week-long Kia Orana Cook Islands event.

People from all the Cook Islands major tourism markets are taking part in the forum, with most coming from New Zealand and Australia, but others making the journey from places such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain.At Aitutaki, tourism wholesalers saw what the destination could offer visitors.

A day at Aitutaki saw many come straight off the airplane and onto a lagoon tour with snorkelling and lunch provided.

Soon after, they were inspecting properties and meeting Aitutakis tourism industry members to formulate deals, packages and strategies in attracting visitors to the islands.

On Monday night, Tamanu Beach put on an almighty buffet with Aitutakis seafood specialties and island fare the focus before bringing in fire dancers, musicians and performers to show the cultural side of the destination.

The Aitutaki leg of the tourism corporations Kia Orana forum was seen as being vitally important by the local industry and it showed the whole of the community put in to help host their visitors and now they are hoping their goodwill will be returned through the tourism wholesalers efforts in promoting it to tourists.

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