Getting Fitted For My Grass Skirt
with Martha Chapman

Katrina Ball of Anderson Vacations

Qantas’ Christopher Gormick

Some of the Cook Islands contingency, brightening up a dreary day

Personally, I think it was a conspiracy. After all, summer had finally landed in Toronto and we were enjoying day after day of warm sun and blue skies – until the contingent from the South Pacific arrived. The gray sky and half-hearted drizzle made their colourful clothes and vibrant presentations even harder to take. Lucky them!

It was the 7th annual Sunsational South Pacific seminar, which saw some 22 folks from places as exotic as Papua New Guinea and Samoa (as well as Canada’s own left coast) undertake training sessions – in this case, to some 80 enthusiastic agents.

“It’s a heck of a commitment for many of these people to come this far,†said Rick Buecking of TLC Travel, which organized it all. “But these sessions aren’t about free drinks or trip giveaways: we get agents out who really want to learn.â€

And with services like Qantas’ sexy new A380 to get you there from LAX to SYD or MEL, the South Pacific is becoming more accessible than ever before.

The Cook Islands had an impressive team attired in tropical blue. Marilyn Scott of the Cook Islands Tourism Office in YVR gave the stats:

Population – 15,000

Language – English

Location – due south of Hawaii

Currency – New Zealand dollar. 

But then she conjured up some charming images for us all:

  • Why your clients – regardless of their religion – should attend a Cook Islands church service. “The singing is heavenly.â€
  • The airport has one, yes one, baggage carousel.
  • On circular Raratonga Island, the main tourist destination, there are two bus routes, officially known as Clockwise and Counter Clockwise.
  • And the words which are music to any Canuck client’s ears: no taxes, no tipping.

OK, I’m sold. All we need is Angus Kinnear to bring back Canada 3000 service direct to the Cook Islands…

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