Cook Islands PM Sees Potential In 'Enhanced Connectivity' To China

Huge increase in tourism possible with approval of 5-year multi-entry visa

By Cameron Scott 

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, July 26, 2017) – Prime minister Henry Puna sees a future of “enhanced connectivity” between the Cook Islands and China, accompanied by a potentially huge increase in Chinese tourists.

Speaking at a reception last week to mark 20 years of the relationship between the Cook Islands and China, Puna said in May the New Zealand government had approved the availability of five-year multiple entry visas to nationals of the People’s Republic of China, travelling to New Zealand for tourism and business.

He told high ranking Chinese officials at the reception the Cook Islands government had lobbied the New Zealand government actively regarding entry for the last five years.

“I took up the matter with both prime minister Key and prime minister English.

“This multiple entry visa for Chinese citizens into New Zealand makes available to the Cook Islands a huge market of possible Chinese visitors.  Our Tourism officials have for some months now been working closely with counterparts in China on destination marketing with a particular orientation to our low season from February-March. The future is promising.”

Puna said the Cook Islands government also saw cooperation opportunities in the marine sphere.

“Already we have promising engagements in fisheries, especially in the longline sector. China has some great marine and conservation research and education institutions, and we look forward to having further discussions, in this area as it relates to deep sea minerals.”

Of paramount importance for the Cook Islands was striking the correct balance between the country’s development needs, and the “absolute imperative” to protect its precious national resources on land, and at sea.

“Our recently legislated Marae Moana will guide our development efforts in the marine space for years to come.”

The prime minister said he noted with appreciation China’s recent confirmation of around $1.3 million to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to support trade, investment, tourism and personal exchanges between the Pacific and China.

“I have been encouraged by China’s engagement with the Pacific Islands Forum, and look forward to again working with China and other Pacific Leaders at this year’s Leaders Forum, to explore further co-operation in regional and international matters, and to safeguard areas of common interest to our region, and China.

“In this regard, we look forward to exploring opportunities with the People’s Republic of China on possible collaboration in protection of the Pacific’s living marine resources in the months and years ahead.”        

Cook Islands News
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I agree "Speaking at a reception last week to mark 20 years of the relationship between the Cook Islands and China, Puna said in May the New Zealand government had approved the availability of five-year multiple entry visas to nationals of the People’s Republic of China, travelling to New Zealand for tourism and business."

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