Cook Islands Tourism Corporation - Visitor Departure Survey

Visitor Departure Survey for the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation. The survey ran an online on from November 2005 to January 2007.

This research is designed to provide a deeper understanding of the characteristics of visitors to the Cook Islands including their expectations and expenditure. An online visitor departure survey was developed which over time could serve as a self-monitoring ‘barometer’ for the industry.

Primary Contact: 
August, 2007
November, 2005
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Project Findings: 


This report focuses on the characteristics, expectations and expenditure patterns of tourists who visit the Cook Islands.

The data presented in the report is drawn from an ongoing on-line survey that monitors visitor characteristics, satisfaction and spend.

The survey period covered is 11 November 2005 to 02 February 2007 with 780 individual respondents. This response covers 1706 adults and an additional 311 children.

Half (52.1%) of the surveyed visitors come from New Zealand, followed by Australia (18.2%).

A large proportion of visitors (71 %) are on their first visit to the Cook Islands. A further 21% have been 2-4 times previously.

The main purpose of visit is holiday making (82.8 %). NZ and Australian visitors are more likely to be travelling for other reasons – especially business.

The average length of stay in the Cook Islands for those surveyed is 10.3 days. Most of the visitors (84.7 %) stay either 1 or 2 weeks, 15% of those surveyed stay longer.

The age profile of the sample is fairly evenly spread across the 30-59 range (69%) with the 40-49 grouping dominant (24.3 %). A slightly lower number of visitors are from the 19-29 age group (17.6 %). The 60+ age group accounted for 12.5% of visitors.

Over 65% of visitors have some form of tertiary education. .

Almost half of those surveyed (48.8 %) have a household income of between $NZ 50,000 and $100,000; a further 17.4% earn between $NZ 100,000 and $150,000. Approximately 10% have a HH income of more than $150,000 per year.

Non-NZ visitors are particularly reliant on the internet as a resource in planning their trip. Visitors from NZ are more reliant on word of mouth than other visitors but still make heavy use of the internet.

Visitor satisfaction is generally high for activities undertaken – with most registering > 4 out of a possible high of 5. Visitors express slightly lower levels of satisfaction with fishing, horse trekking, shopping and whale watching and highest satisfaction with the beaches.

The most appealing elements of the Cook Islands experience are friendly people, beaches and lifestyle. Interestingly ‘local culture’ does not feature greatly.

The least appealing element of the Cook Islands experience is the environment – with 20% of respondents focusing on issues relating to environmental degradation (pollution, crowding etc). Facilities and services levels also featured as areas for improvement.

The most frequent suggestions for possible improvements to the Cook Islands tourist product are: better routes/time schedules for flights, price control and improved maintenance of the natural environment.

The total spend per adult visitor per day is $192.50. It should be remembered that most people visit the Cooks in groups of 2 or more – thus the average spend for a couple is $385 per day.

When daily spend is multiplied by average stay (10.3 days) it can be calculated that each visitor spends $1983 during their total stay.

The 30-39 age group have the highest daily spend, followed closely by the 50-59 age group.

Travellers visiting friends or family have the lowest daily spend – this can be expected as respondents in this group spend less on accommodation compared to other groups.

Business travellers have a significantly higher daily spend than other visitor groups.

The majority of visitors (97 %) indicated that they would consider re- visiting the Cook Islands.

98% of visitors to the Cook Islands advised they would recommend the destination to their family/friends.