Meeting Newz September / October 2021

PAC I F I C UPDATE ] Samoa is reporting strong progress with its vaccination campaign – with well over 80% now having received their first dose of the Atsra Zeneca vaccine and full vaccinations heading towards 50% at the time of going to press. New Caledonia’s borders are closed until the end of the year. NEW CALEDONIA UPDATE The Cook Islands looks likely to allow quarantine-free travel from New Zealand only when this country is Level 1 – and then it will be for vaccinated travellers only. COOKS BUBBLE ’ S RETURN LEVEL 1 DEPENDENT The destination quickly gained traction when the Cooks – NZ ‘bubble’ operated this year, with event and wedding planners reporting interest. The appetite to travel for leisure to Rarotonga and beyond was clearly demonstrated when a Cook Islands expo attracted 3500 people to the Hilton Hotel in Auckland in July. Graeme West, general manager Australasia of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, says the Cook Islands The Samoa Travel Tracer is also up and running and is available on Google Play and App Store. Conference and incentive organisers can expect, when the destination does open, that only fully vaccinated delegates will be allowed to enter. The two Sheraton properties at the destination – Sheraton Hotel and Bungalows and Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort, signalled at least a month ago that they will insist on proof of vaccination before entry to the properties. A number of the hotels suitable for business events in Samoa have gone through refurbishments while the borders have been closed, and some have added new accommodation choices. Taumeasina Island Resort, located close to the Apia CBD has new villas. General manager Tuiataga Nathan Bucknall says the development consists of 12 self-contained thee-bedroom villas offering views of the Pacific Ocean. The new villas are larger in size compared to those which are part of the original build. All are located on the mainland by the main entrance and directly face Taumeasina Island. The resort has remained open throughout the pandemic and retained 40% of its staff. In other accommodation news, Anoa Resort has 12 new units, targeting mainly business travellers and couples. Return to Paradise is working on four new beachfront villas to be completed by the end of the year. Sea Breeze is renovating its swimming pool and has confirmed it will remain an adults-only resort on reopening. Cabinet indicated recently that re-opening quarantine-free travel with New Zealand would only happen when it was confident there was very little risk to its people. At this stage that that appears to be dependent on no community transmission of Covid-19 in New Zealand. West says that potentially the Cook Islands could open up to some parts of New Zealand if there were different alert levels around the country. Nothing was confirmed at the time of going to press. While the bubble operated this year there were early indications that high end, private excursions were being embraced – a possible pointer to incentive and reward activity. Robert Skews, managing director of Turama Pacific Travel Groups says the The destination has adopted a strong push to fully vaccinate the population, with 30 percent plus of New Caledonians vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer at the time of going to press. Intending travellers are advised not to make any plans until an official announcement of borders reopening. company’s day tours to the island of Aitutaki utilising a private seven seater Citation Jet were receiving interest and bookings during the quarantine-free travel period. Overnight packages are also offered by Turama’s Island Hopper Vacations arm, with an island tour, lagoon cruise, luxury five-course dinner o the beach at Pacific Resort Aitutaki, accommodation in a Beachfront Bungalow and with cooked breakfasts. SAMOA : VACC INAT IONS PROGRESS AND RESORTS READY Noumea Cook Islands Taumeasina Island Resort meeting newz [sept oct] 2021 [21]