An escape to the heat of the Cook Islands might just be around the corner – with a two-way travel bubble tipped to open up in a fortnight.
There is speculation in the Cooks that Sunday, May 16 (NZT) is understood to be the big day set to be announced by the Government after a Cabinet meeting this afternoon.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the announcement this afternoon would bring “ultimately good news” for both the New Zealand and the Cook Islands.
New Zealand made up a large part of the island nation’s tourism and that this was a move the Government had been working on for some time, she said.
“We wanted to make sure when we do it, we got it right,” she told Newshub this morning.
“We didn’t want to run the risk of exporting (Covid-19) to the Cook Islands, which has been Covid-free.”
Cook Islands media have also reported that today’s announcement would reveal a two-way travel bubble opening up around May 15 – next Saturday (the Cooks are one day behind NZ time).
Air NZ already selling return flights
Private sector taskforce chairman Fletcher Melvin told the Cook Islands News publication that a Government source had confirmed that date.
Air New Zealand has flights to Rarotonga available from next Monday, May 10, with one of the cheapest return fares being $613.
There is currently a one-way travel bubble with the Cook Islands – allowing residents to enter New Zealand without having to quarantine for 14 days.
It is one of the few countries in the Pacific, including Tonga, Samoa and Niue, that have been and remain completely free of the virus in the community.
Ardern’s comments follow a visit from Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown, who became the first international leader to be welcomed on to New Zealand soil since the pandemic turned the world upside down.
Brown, who visited in March, told media then that they were ready for business and for the two-way bubble to start some time in May.
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