Rarotonga peninsula

A Cook Islands developer has plans to start construction on a new five-star hotel in Rarotonga later this year.

As part of a group called Merchants of Paradise, Tim Tepaki is trying to breathe life into the Cook Islands tourism market.

Tepaki said the Cook Islands currently only have backpackers and four-star accommodation. Merchants of Paradise had funding approved for a Rarotonga hotel development by the China Development Bank in 2014 and it expires in 2019, so they must move quickly.

“I will take a punt and by next month we will be starting. The next phase is for our Chinese partners to come in and do their own scoping to prove up our scoping of the development. And if they say ‘yes that will work’, then the funding is granted under the One China Policy and we can go in. I expect to get physical construction to go underway by Christmas with a bit of luck, well the gearing up anyway, but approval may be in the next two months,” Tepaki said.