Rarotonga's largest group of resorts has said it will only accept bookings from fully vaccinated guests, after the reemergence of Covid 19 in New Zealand.
Last week the Rarotongan's managing director Tata Crocombe said that hotel facilities and restaurants will only be welcoming fully vaccinated guests.
Sister properties Sanctuary Rarotonga and Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort would also be following suit, as he told Cook Islands News that other operators are likely to follow.
"If you look around the world I think that's where it's all heading, people will need to be vaccinated to travel," Crocombe said on Wednesday.
The Resorts said they were within their rights to deny service to unvaccinated guests. It was comparable to denying service to inappropriately dressed or intoxicated patrons, if welcoming unvaccinated guests put staff or other guests at risk.
"We have a duty of care, both legally and morally, to provide our guests, staff and community with a safe environment," Crocombe told the Herald.
They will be requiring every guest over the age of 16 to show certification that they have been double vaccinated and proof of a negative Covid 19 test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in the Cook Islands.
Currently the processing time for vaccine confirmation letters is over 20 days and must be applied for via the Ministry of Health website. A vaccine certificate could become yet another thing Kiwis have to arrange well ahead of their holidays, when travel resumes.
Flights to the Cook Islands were suspended on 18 August, following New Zealand's snap lockdown. Currently no inbound travel is allowed until at least 14 September.
While the Cook Islands government hasn't taken a stance on whether vaccines will be required to travel when the bubble resumes, some businesses are taking matters into their own hands.
Cook Islands Tourism CEO Halatoa Fua said this decision was the right of the resort to take as a private company but it is not a current Cook Islands Government policy.
The Cook Islands government confirmed that there are currently no more than 200 international guests still in the islands.
The Rarotongan Resort is almost empty. Almost 95 per cent of the Island's eligible population have already been fully vaccinated, but hospitality for domestic tourism is a tiny fraction of their business.
"We have one Kiwi guest across our three resorts with a total of 194 rooms" said Crocombe "compared to around 400 Kiwi guests at the time of border closure for the Delta outbreak."
The resort says they are taking a cautious approach to reopening after following the outbreaks in neighbouring Tahiti.
"Our health system would be completely and utterly overwhelmed."
French Polynesia has reported over 6000 active cases and only 32 per cent vaccination cover for the population.
The Cook Islands Alert Level 2 restrictions are in place until 11.59pm on Monday 13 September, with only outbound travel allowed.