HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Unusual experience for passengers from Sydney
A first-hand experience on the Sydney to Rarotonga bound flight

Boarding my Sydney to Rarotonga flight over the weekend; I was quite astonished and impressed with the load of passengers travelling. It was quite a full flight apparently with one hundred and seventy eight passengers to the extent of a few locals returning home, booked in Business Class. Excellent!
As tax payers we invest about ten million dollars every year to ensure this direct Sydney to Rarotonga flight that flies back and forth weekly, stays afloat. However, I decided whether I should take that compliment back when an announcement came on the intercom which disturbed my enjoyment at five and half hours of flight with lots of movies to watch. The announcement was; to apologise that the Airline failed to have available on the plane the Arrival Cards. The announcement also said the airline had ordered the Arrival cards to be made available as we get off our flight. I asked myself if this was totally unfair with no excuse. If they forgot to order these cards, I am sure a cleaner on the flight could do this simple task and give them a friendly reminder. I told the passenger next to me that we were going to have a drama at the Rarotonga Airport upon arrival. I was right.
With 178 passengers clustered at the arrival area at the Rarotonga International Airport, it saddened me to see tourists sitting flat down on the floor filling in their Arrival cards and some families’, with babies crawling around the area. I thought we had accelerated from being a third world country to a developed nation, but these are the tourists first hand impression of how we welcome them to our shores. We have this huge investment that lures tourism to our lovely islands on this direct Sydney Rarotonga flight and is this how we should treat our visitors? We are trying to build our tourism industry aren’t we?
Who’s to blame? Should I point my finger at the Airline itself or perhaps our Cook Islands Tourism Office or our Department of Immigration for failing to ensure that there was supply of the Arrival Cards on the plane prior to arrival at Rarotonga? I asked myself over the weekend whether we have adequate infrastructure in place to ensure there are no mishaps with our tourism industry, it being the back-bone of this country.
Aite teia I ta tatou angaanga maori; kua ngaropoina!(Oh! Someone forgot!)

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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