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Cook Islands

Rarotonga

The Cook Islands are located in the 'Heart of Polynesia' and comprise fifteen islands spread between French Polynesia (Tahiti) and Fiji. The Cook Islands offer a good degree of political stability and the government operates in a self-governing "free association" with New Zealand. This arrangement offers Cook Islands citizens access to first-class health and education services and a stable currency (NZD). A premium tourism offering is the mainstay of the economy with arrivals growing to a record of more than 132,000 visitors in 2012, assisted by direct flights from Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and the USA.

From Auckland, Air New Zealand offer daily direct flights to Rarotonga and Virgin Australia connect on the same route once a week. Air New Zealand also operates weekly flights from Sydney and Los Angeles direct to Rarotonga. The domestic carrier, Air Rarotonga operates flights to nine Cook Islands destinations as well as weekly flights to Papeete, Tahiti. Cruise ships visit Rarotonga at least once a month and with the recent opening of the Avatiu Port (Cook Island's principal international port) in Rarotonga, tourism earnings are expected to increase further, as cruise ships will now be able to berth.

The Cook Islands levies limited or no tax on a number of items and offers investment opportunities in off-shore trusts and finance corporations, tourism services, agricultural exports, fisheries, and black pearl farming. As a tourist destination, the Cook Islands are highly regarded. Tapuaetai, known as the One-Foot Island was awarded Australasia's Leading Beach at the 2008 World Travel Awards. In 2010, the Pacific Resort Aitutaki was voted as the "world leading boutique island resort" for the third consecutive year.

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