As part of a regional study led by the Griffith Institute for Tourism, the Cook Islands are looking to develop new and improved ways of measuring tourism’s role and impact on community wellbeing. For the Cook Islands, regenerative destination development is about empowering our visitors, industry and communities to actively improve the quality of life of its people and place, both now and for future generations.
With local NGO’s Kōrero O Te `Ōrau and Te Ipukarea Society helping to deliver the programme on-the-ground, this research focuses on identifying transformative tourism models using qualitative research to establish solid baseline data. Due to be rolled out across several islands including Rarotonga and some of the Pa Enua, this research will identify the elements that are most important to each local community, and find ways in which tourism can provide benefits and while managing potential adverse impacts. The research will also look to develop more accurate measures of how tourism is impacting the well-being of the community, and establish baseline data to measure impacts of future regenerative tourism efforts.
Plans are in the pipeline to start implementation in July. This project is a partnership between researchers, tourism operators, social and environmental nongovernmental organisations, and an industry body.
This initiative contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework and the Cook Islands National Sustainable Development Agenda (NSDA).
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Photo Credit: Cook Islands Tourism Corporation