HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 593: 7 December2011

Bigger and better ‘Kia Orana Cook Islands’ for 2011
The Kia Orana Cook Islands 2011 tourism forum opened today at the Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa. Over 70 wholesalers and key industry figures were in attendance. The morning began with an opening address by the Minister of Tourism Hon. Teina Bishop, where he emphasised the importance, going forward, of building the relationship between the Cook Islands government, Cook Islands Tourism Corporation (CITC) and the international wholesalers who sell the Cook Islands as a destination to the world. Bishop expressed that this tripartisan relationship needed to be based on values such as strength and passion and not exclusively on financial outcomes. The Minister was positive about the forum so far. “Last time we did this forum there were only 15 people that came - now there are more than 70. So it’s a sign of the growth of the interest of the wholesalers and it’s also a sign of positive feeling towards the [local] industry.”
Following the introductory speech of the Kia Orana Cook Islands 2011 forum by chairman of the CITC board Ewan Smith, Tourism CEO Carmel Beattie addressed the participants. Beattie’s speech included an emotional and heartfelt tribute to the late Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid, where she expressed her admiration at Reid’s strength, courage, grace and beauty. Beattie added, “I think she [Reid] epitomises what it means to be a Cook Islander.”
The two keynote speakers for the morning session were Chris Flynn, Regional Director of Pacific Asia Travel Association, and Jo Kennedy, Product and Pricing Manager Pacific Islands and Domestic, Air New Zealand. Many participants were impressed with Flynn’s insights into the tourism industry on a global level, including his summary of the “new traveller”, a look at what the modern traveller looks for in an experience and in a destination. Kennedy, meanwhile, gave an in-depth overview of Air New Zealand’s position heading into 2012. The afternoon programme included panel discussions focussed on the Australasian and North American markets.
The next two days of the Kia Orana Cook Islands 2011 forum will see an exciting day of free tourism workshops available for the wider community to attend on Thursday, as well as a continuation of the more formal presentations and panel discussions on the European and UK markets on Friday. The workshops will be held at the Pukapuka hostel and there are seven workshops planned in total. Some of the various workshop topics for Thursday include sustainable development of tourism in the South Pacific, utilising social networking mediums and the presentation of the 2012 Cook Islands Tourism marketing prospectus. The 2012 prospectus will outline marketing and partnership opportunities in key international markets. Friday’s programme will be held at the Edgewater Resort and Spa.
Minister Bishop conveyed his optimism at the direction the board is headed and added that forums like this provided an opportunity for wholesalers to cultivate a passion for the Cook Islands that encourages tourists to come and experience our destination for themselves. He remarked, “When you send people to the Cook Islands, you’re sending them to a special place.” Ngariki Ngatae

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

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