The Cook Islands say visitors will need to be fully vaccinated when travel resumes.
Yesterday prime minister Mark Brown announced the islands would remain at alert Level 2 until there had been 2 weeks without Covid-19 cases in the community in New Zealand.
"All future tourists to the Cook Islands aged above 12 years would need to be fully vaccinated (except those with a medical certificate)," said the prime minister's office.
Revealed during a scheduled alert-level review, the prime minister said that the pause would be extended and travel was unlikely to restart before the whole of New Zealand was at Level 1.
Repatriation flights would be arranged for Cook Islanders who had been sheltering in place in New Zealand for the past 27 days.
"We know that our tourism market is resilient and so too is our economy. We saw how fast tourism bounced back in May and it will happen again," he said.
PM Brown said that as one of the few countries to have yet to record a case of Covid-19, they did not want to jeopardise this now.
"While we acknowledge that at some point in the future all countries will need to learn to live with COVID-19, that time has not yet come," he said. "We do not want an outbreak here."
There will be another review of the inbound travel suspension on 28 September.
No vaccine, no vacation
Some Cook Island resorts had pre-empted the move and have been asking that patrons be fully vaccinated. This month, the Rarotongan said it would be asking guests to provide proof of vaccination and negative Covid results before booking.
However, when the border reopens to travellers, proof of vaccination will now be required to enter the country.
This will likely have an effect on New Zealanders already planning a trip to Rarotonga.
Regional GM for Cook Islands Tourism, Graeme West welcomed the news as a roadmap to reopening the islands for vaccinated tourists.
"Many people are longing to get to our tropical paradise for a break," he said. "Knowing what the new requirements are likely to be allows them to get vaccinated and prepare for the border re-opening."
While Auckland was waiting to return to Level 1, West speculated that direct flights from Christchurch would be an option.
A direct South Island-Rarotonga service was proposed last year by Pasifika Air, but is yet to materialise.
Larger bookings and family groups through the end of the year have said that they are uncertain whether younger members will be vaccinated by then.
One Kiwi family with bookings for the end of October said that the situation was "interesting", given their teenage children were yet to receive their first dose and some family members were against vaccines.
Cook Islands repatriation flights from Christchurch
Cook Islands residents would now be able to register for repatriation flights.
While no flights have yet to be announced the Prime Minister's office said that Cook Islanders in parts of New Zealand at Level 2 would be flown out through Christchurch Airport.
Cook Islanders and those with resident class visas have been blocked out of the country since 18 August and the one-way travel ban was established.
The Cooks ministry of foreign affairs said they were aware of 350 Cook Islands residents currently sheltering in New Zealand who had indicated they wanted to fly home, 125 of whom are in regions under Level 2.
Returnees would have to isolate for at least 7 days in MIQ in Rarotonga.