If a Pacific Island holiday was on your Christmas list then the Cook Islands have heard your wishes.
Quarantine-free travel is set to resume between New Zealand and the Cook Islands from 14 January, next year.
On Friday prime minister Mark Brown said the decision was based on "high-level advice from the Government's Border Easement Taskforce and data modelling experts in New Zealand."
However, they are insisting all leisure visitors are double vaccinated and provide a negative covid test.
"I am very pleased to announce that when we welcome the new year together we can also look forward to celebrating the opening of our borders with two-way quarantine free travel from New Zealand."
Quarantine free travel is set to resume to the Cook Islands from 14 January (13 January Cook Islands Time), next year.
The Cook Islands tourism board welcomed the move saying they were "absolutely delighted."
"We were open for just three months from May to August this year until the current Delta outbreak in New Zealand meant that the border had to be closed," said Graeme West, chief executive of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation.
The two-way bubble is still dependent on what regional travel restrictions are in place at the beginning of next year.
New Zealanders in the Cook Islands can currently travel back to New Zealand quarantine free, although this is complicated by Auckland's regional alert levels. You can currently travel through Auckland Airport to get home, providing travellers carry evidence of why they are travelling, eg. proof of address.
Quarantine-free travel was suspended to the Cook Islands since the 18 August outbreak, with managed return flights for Cook Island residents.
After Air New Zealand is currently selling daily Cook Islands fares from Auckland from $800 return, its only air link to Rarotonga.
On Monday, the airline's chief of sales Leanne Geraghty said they were "looking forward to resuming our daily flight schedule to get our customers to and from Rarotonga very soon."
An Air New Zealand spokesperson said it was too early to get an indication on demand, however they would be contacting customers who had been booked to travel between now and 13 January with travel options.
Although the airline says these flights are still "subject to all necessary regulatory and government approvals being held to operate quarantine free travel," it has not stopped them being booked out for the first weekend.
Who can fly to the Cook Islands?
The air bridge will open to those arriving from New Zealand. It will be open to Cook Islanders and anyone in New Zealand who meets the criteria.
Travellers will need to have proof of full vaccination and a negative Covid 19 test result within 72 hours before departing New Zealand.
While waiting for direct links to Australia and the rest of the world, the travel bubble with New Zealand is a first step, says PM brown.
"Once we open we stay open," he said.
Borders are open only for those aged over 12
Rarotonga and Aitutaki are favourite destinations for couples' retreats, however, family holidays may be more difficult under the current guidelines.
Only those over 12 years old will be allowed to enter the country until New Zealand begins its vaccination programme for over 5s.
Which islands? Rarotonga and Aitutaki
Kiwi travellers arriving in Rarotonga are able to travel onwards to some of the other resort islands. However travellers will have to take a Rapid Antigen Test before boarding air links.
Currently travel to Aitutaki is permitted. A further test may be required on arrival in Aitutaki.
Track and trace
Visitors to the Cook Islands will need to fill in a Cook Islands contact form 72 hours before flying. On top of this, tourists will be required to track and trace their movements on the Islands using a personal QR code given on arrival. Travellers are encouraged to download the national contact tracing app, Cooksafe+ before arriving.
Now is the time to open
The Cook Islands vaccination roll out has been incredibly thorough.
With 96 per cent of eligible adults vaccinated, the prime minister's office said that the time had come to reopen.
"Now is the time to open for business," said Mark Brown.
"There has been a cost, a cost that has built up over the last 20 months, … a cost that will hurt us badly into the future unless we act now."
There would be two further 'managed return' repatriation flights before Christmas. After which Cook Islanders would be able to travel on commercial flights from 14 January.
Unvaccinated Cook Islanders can travel but will have to spend two weeks in MIQ at their own cost.
The Cook Islands are among one of the few countries to remain Covid 19 free during the pandemic. This has greatly increased their profile and desirability among international travellers. Last month the Cook Islands were voted the top country to visit in 2022 by publishers the Lonely Planet, the first time the islands had featured on their annual list.