As countries around the world look forward to a post-COVID world one day, Cook Islands Tourism has launched Kia Orana Plus, a rapid training program to prepare the tourism sector for the eventual re-opening of its tourism industry.
The national tourism organisation is developing a set of training modules that will form the basis of the Kia Orana Plus program. The modules will be released in the form of short online videos, to encourage remote training and allow the industry to train staff on site. However, caution is needed as, to date, the Cook Islands remain COVID-free.
“This training will help the people of the Cook Islands remain vigilant, and help maintain our COVID- free status” said Cook Islands Tourism CEO, Halatoa Fua. “Kia Orana Plus will help the tourism industry to implement the new Cook Islands Promise, which is a joint commitment between our international visitors and us, the host community, to keep everyone safe from COVID-19.”
The training will reinforce for the tourism industry the importance of practices like pragmatic physical distancing, maintaining good hygiene and continued disinfection, while not forgetting the importance of good customer Service.
The Kia Orana Plus program will be available first as a ‘train the trainer’ to a select number of tourism operators and trainers before it is rolled out to the wider community.
Last year the Cook Islands were voted the number one island in the South Pacific – including Australia and New Zealand – by the readers of Travel + Leisure Magazine.
The Cook Islands, a South Pacific nation made up of 15 islands and populated by just over 17,000 people, is located in the same time zone as Hawaii and borders French Polynesia. The country, which markets itself as “a little paradise,” has been described by avid travellers as Hawaii 50 years ago, before traffic and high rises, except there are modern amenities such as luxury spas and fine-dining restaurants.
Kia orāna is a greeting in the Cook Islands Māori language, which translates to, “may you live long.” It is an apt representation of the Cook Islands culture, which encompasses a deeply embedded sense of hospitality as well as more vibrant elements, such as impressive dancing and drumming.
Photos: Cook Islands Tourism Corporation.