February 2, 2023

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Tourists impacted by severe weather in Pacific Islands

[Source: RNZ]

Travel agents are working with resorts to help tourists in several Pacific Islands after huge ocean swells caused flooding and damaged hotels.

A state of emergency has been declared in American Samoa and resorts in the Cook Islands and French Polynesia have been flooded.

Brent Thomas from the House of Travel said it took many holidaymakers by surprise.

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“This time of year in the school holidays, flights are full. So if you have a disruption of any sort it’s very difficult to actually then rebook them on a later flight because those next flights will be full as well as given just the popularity of places like the Cook Islands.”

Affected holidaymakers should talk to their hotel staff first but travel agents can also help clients, Thomas said.

Meanwhile, Liana Scott of Muri Beach Hotel in Rarotonga said the wave swells were the largest many locals had ever seen.

Most beachfront properties experienced some damage, but would be able to recover and some guests had been relocated as repairs took place to damaged buildings, she said.

The storm had caused frustration for hotel owners as they were experiencing high occupancy for the first time since the pandemic arrived, Scott said.

The government was providing financial aid to affected businesses, she said.

 

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