HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 570:29 June 2011

Atiu the next big thing

Carmel Beattie talks about Atiu and its attractions.

On Monday I spoke to Tourism CEO Carmel Beattie about the proposed development of Atiu as the next major tourist attraction in the Cook Islands.
I asked her, What analysis had been done of tourism attractions in Atiu, and what plans there were to upgrade Atiu’s infrastructure.
Her response was; “There was a lot of work done even prior to my arrival, but we’ve looked at all of the options not just for Atiu but for all of the islands within the country and what we looked at is the need to develop the destination, not just for the point of view of bringing in more tourist but ensuring that when our visitors arrive that we are presenting the very best of what the cook islands have to offer. So has a result of that we’ve developed a Destination Development Strategy. There are a range of opportunities in that we will work on, everything from bike paths to public facilities and to upgrading the major infrastructure in the airports of the different islands. A lot of things we do are to ensure that our destinations are reaching its potential. For Atiu we’ve recently done two different trips and we’ve worked really closely with the tourism industry there and also the islands council. We marked up a range of things we can do and looked at all of the different things. So for instance beach access, there is this stunning beach that nobody really knows about because it’s quite hard to get across the makatea. So we are looking at ways to actually create access to these beaches but are natural looking as well, not a concrete walkway. We want to keep it natural and feeling like it’s always been there.”
“So a lot of what we do is to actually find ways that we could take the very special offerings of an island and ensure that they are in the best possible condition, and that they would be accessible, so people can have the opportunity to actually really enjoy the whole destination and what it has to offer. Now in Atiu, you have an industry that has worked very hard at developing some great tours, wonderful experiences, for instance Bird man George, Papa Paeares History tour, you have Martial’s incredible tours to the caves ant there are also really wonderful and exciting products on Atiu. “
Recently we took a lot of our overseas managers there as well and they were just absolutely buzzing. I think the thing they loved was that, with Rarotonga, with Aitutaki and with Atiu, they are three such incredibly different experiences. It is wonderful for us to be able to tell that when you come to the Cook Islands, you’re coming to almost 15 different little countries and not just one country. It’s got so much diversity, which is the exciting thing, we have such different experiences on every island, the beaches are different, the terrain is different, but the common thing is that every where the warmth of the welcome of the people are incredible and that’s what’s special and connects us together as a country.”

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

Copyright 2006 Cook Islands Herald online . All rights reserved.