As most visitors prefer to hire scooters to get around if they do not have a motorbike class on their international license, they must go through the normal theory and practical test at the Cook Islands Police Station in town. The costs incurred are $5 for theory test, $5 for practical test and $20 for a driver’s license valid for 1 year. A motorbike and safety helmet will need to be supplied by the applicants for the practical test hence the temporary license from the rental company is obtained.
At present, not all rental companies offer temporary licenses so best to check with them first. Bike rental companies are permitted to issue a temporarily license valid for 24hrs only after they pass the practical and skills testing by the rental company. This will allow them to drive to the Police Station to do the tests and to obtain their full Cook Islands scooter license.
Speaking ahead of today’s inaugural flight, which departed Auckland at 7.40pm Tuesday 22 March and arrived in Rarotonga at 12.40am Tuesday 22 March 2016, Halatoa Fua, CEO of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, said Jetstar is the first new airline to fly the route in 10 years; and it’s thrice-weekly flights would create an additional 25,000 return seats a year.
“These extra visitors have the potential to generate an extra $20M for the local economy,” said Mr Fua. This benefits almost everyone in the Cook Islands, from hotels, holiday homes, restaurants, cafes, and other service providers.” Mr Fua said tourism is the backbone of the economy, providing approximately 60% of GDP. “Our 82,000 New Zealand annual visitors - 67% of total visitors - are vital, and the increased seat capacity from Jetstar, together with its low fare options, will really help these numbers to grow. The financial impact for our local tourism operators and the nation is significant.” He said the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation fully supported Jetstar’s entry into the market. A special blessing, plus Cook Islands dancers and drummers greeted passengers boarding the inaugural flight in Auckland and upon arrival in Rarotonga.
Mr Fua said the Cook Islands are the ultimate tropical island destination, which Jetstar’s low fares would enable more New Zealanders to enjoy. Since Jetstar announced its plans last year, he said there had been an increased number of enquiries and bookings. “Occupancy levels in Rarotonga are looking very positive and our operators are looking forward to a good season coming up. “Our encircling lagoon, beautiful white sand beaches and warm temperatures, makes Rarotonga a popular and easy destination for New Zealanders. We’re friendly and relaxed, with a wide range of scenery, activities, accommodation and eating places for all budgets. And because we use the New Zealand dollar and many New Zealand products, it has a comfortable familiarity for them. ”
As Rarotonga is the gateway to the outer islands, Mr Fua said the Jetstar flights would also have a positive impact on tourism in those areas.