Cooks environmentalists back curb on tourism

THE Cook Islands environmental organisation Te Ipukarea Society says tourism growth on the main island of Rarotonga is not sustainable in its current form.

The society’s director Kelvin Passfield said the organisation was not anti-tourism, but it supported the stance of MP Sel Napa who has urged government to slow down tourism growth because of the impact it is having on the island.

Mr Passfield said Rarotonga’s current infrastructure could not cope with the current rise in tourism.

Mr Passfield said his group was keen on more low density accommodation, with families making their houses available for short term rental.

“It’s usually one house on a quarter acre of land.

“It’s not 50 units squeezed onto a half acre of beachfront property, so the impact of their septic systems and their laundry on the environment is much less and it much more spread out. So the environment should be able to handle a less densely populated tourism area.”

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