Visitor arrivals reached record levels in October 2014. October 2014 visitor arrivals were 11,842, an increase of 399 (3.5 per cent) compared to visitor arrivals October 2013. This is the highest level recorded for the month of October.
The New Zealand market was the highest source of arrivals with 68.1 per cent (8,061), a further 17.8 per cent (2,102) came from Australia. These are also record high arrivals for these two markets for the month of October.
Contributing to the increase in October 2014 were improvements in the Australian (372 - 21.5 per cent) New Zealand (200 2.5 per cent), US (89 - 25.6 per cent) markets. These increases were offset by declines in the European market.
People arriving for holiday purposes made up 76.9 per cent (9,109) of the total visitor arrivals. 12.2 per cent (1,440) chose the Cook Islands for weddings and honeymoons, while 5.3 per cent (624) came to visit friends and relatives.
The 3.5 per cent growth in October 2014 was welcomed and builds on the 2.0 per cent growth experienced in October 2013. Year to date growth is slightly above the forecast in the 2014/15 Budget.
Halatoa Fua, Chief Executive of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation was pleased with the numbers outlining that the Australian market continues to be a key focus for the Cook Islands as it continues to improve in numbers.
Importantly, it appears that a trend is emerging of the peak season now extending into October and November.
In 2011 there were five months were visitor arrivals exceeded 10,000. Since 2011, the number of months exceeding 10,000 continues to increase and up until October there had been six months where visitor numbers exceeded 10,000 for the 2014 year.