The Cook Islands, starved by tourism, are taking out bank loans


The Cook Islands government has taken out a $ 10.3 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to fund its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo: Rafael Ben-Ari / 123RF

The second phase of the Contingent Disaster Financing (CDF) program for the Cook Islands was approved in December 2019 to manage the country’s fiscal risk from natural disasters.

In April, the ADB’s board of directors expanded the scope of CDF programs to include health-related emergencies and enabled funds to be released in response to COVID-19.

“The Cook Islands are among the tourism-dependent South Pacific economies that are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific, Leah Gutierrez

“The Cook Islands loan will help the economy in the face of the tourist slump and respond to emerging challenges.”

The Cook Islands Treasury Department estimates that tourism typically accounts for 65 percent of the country’s economic activity.

The Cooks government and business leaders want one Travel bubble with New Zealand to revitalize tourism.

ACT supports bladder

The travel bubble idea was also endorsed by the New Zealand ACT Party Chairman David Seymour.

Mr Seymour said there was no reason for the delay as the Cook Islands were Covid-free and part of the New Zealand Empire.

“It is critical to long-term relationships between countries that the Cook Islands have New Zealand tourist dollars available when they are most needed, now.”

The New Zealand government said it was in talks with the Cooks about the bubble but there were several hurdles to overcome.


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