Rarotonga is removing all travel restrictions for arrivals. Photo / Tourism in the Cook Islands
The Cook Islands says it has dropped all vaccine requirements, reverting to pre-Covid-19 travel and entry requirements.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that this weekend it would remove all remaining travel restrictions related to Covid-19.
From September 16, visitors to the islands will no longer need to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to board a plane.
Prime Minister Mark Brown said it was “another step in reclaiming what Covid-19 has taken from us”.
The requirement that all arrivals must pass through a single point of entry in Rarotonga has also been amended to include the ports of Aitutaki, Atiu, Tongareva and Pukapuka.
This opens up many more islands to travellers.
Brown said the decision was made after discussion with the mayors of Pa Enua in the Outer Cook Islands and the Ministry of Health Te Marae Ora.
“Removing these latest restrictions means that as a country we are sending a signal to the world that we are serious about getting back to business and want our people to live normal lives without unnecessary government restrictions.”
The Cook Islands tourism industry also welcomed the news, which removed the last travel restrictions from a long and difficult pandemic.
Cook Islands TC’s managing director for New Zealand and Australia, Graeme West, said it represented a return to “normality” just in time for additional flights returning from late October.
“Rarotonga and Aitutaki are beautiful, and the people of the Cook Islands await with their usual warm welcome all our visitors.”