A Cook Islands-Australia travel bubble is looking like a very real possibility.
New Zealanders will be able to visit the Cook Islands without having to quarantine in either country from Monday 17 May.
”We’re looking forward with much anticipation to welcoming Kiwis back to our beautiful islands and we hope Australia will be next,” Graeme West, General Manager of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation said.
The first flight, due to arrive in the Cook Islands on Monday will also carry the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. It will be ready for roll out starting May 19.
“COVID-19 vaccinations for Cook Islanders will be one of the best things that’s happened there in 14 months,” West said.
The Cook Islands has remained COVID-free since it closed its borders in March 2020. The government aims to vaccinate people on Rarotonga and Aitutaki by June. Once those vaccinations take place, it’s hoped Australians will also be able to visit.
“It will assure visitors that their health and safety is being taken very seriously,” West said.
The Cook Islands border closure hit the economy particularly hard as tourism is a mainstay of their economy.
“We’re getting ready to go and to showcase everything that we’re renowned for – our warm tropical weather, stunning natural beauty, friendliness and hospitality and our great food, ” West said.
But West is hopeful that tourist will soon return.
Australians CAN get on a Cook Islands flight from New Zealand thanks to the trans-Tasman bubble.
But don’t pack your bags just yet. Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt amended the Biosecurity act to try and close the travel Cook Islands loophole. Australians will need to spend 14 days in New Zealand before they can return to Australia if they have been to a third country.