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Cook Islands Leading Resort Group Upskills Staff during COVID-19 Crisis



Pacific Resort Hotel Group (PRHG) the Cook Islands leading resort operator in collaboration with EHL, the world’s #1 ranked Hospitality Management School based in Switzerland, have joined forces to put together a tailored 8-week hospitality training program for its employees.

EHL has provided PRHG with complete course content together with video resources using an online hospitality training platform. The program is focused on operational training in the Rooms and Food & Beverage Divisions and upon successful completion employees will be awarded a ‘Certificate in International Hospitality Operations’ from PRHG and EHL.

The first 8-week course commenced on the 8th of June with in-house trainers facilitating course content to three classes in Aitutaki and four in Rarotonga, 5 days per week.

Marcus Niszow, CEO of PRHG explains it is all about people; “Our company has always had a people first approach. The pandemic has devastated our business and heading into our 5th month with no guests and zero income, it is a real challenge to care for our people. This world class training program is something we are pleased we can provide as a gift to them. It is a unique once in a lifetime opportunity to upskill to the highest international standards.”

As the COVID-19 crisis deepens, the Pacific Resort group is paying a heavy price for the border closures, and has lost both of its franchise partner hotels, Royale Takitumu and Moana Sands Group. Niszow explains “The loss of our franchise partners from the group, together with low occupancy projections for post-COVID trading has already resulted in some redundancies at head office. That has been really hard for us all. I wish we could rule out more job losses, but I fear that will be the reality as we adjust to much lower tourist numbers over the coming years. Right now, we are borrowing just to pay our overheads and we don’t know how long that will continue. Already, it will take us years to trade our way out and repay these debts.”

With inevitable workforce reductions looming, PRHG sees the EHL training program as helping both its employees and the Cook Islands prepare for a long and difficult recovery after the border reopens. “While we have the opportunity, we want to help our people by investing in their upskilling. That way we can provide them with the best chance of long term success and employment in the post-COVID recovery period” says Niszow.

PRHG is one of the largest resort sector employers in the Cook Islands with over 200 employees spread across its resort portfolio in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. The group anticipates the post-COVID recovery will be long and challenging, and it will take at least 2-3 years before business returns to pre-COVID levels. Fortunately, the resorts are all in great shape as a result of the recently completed multi-million dollar 10-year major refurbishment program. The resorts have been hibernating since late March 2020 and are being cared for and maintained, ready to welcome guests as soon as the Cook Islands borders are reopened.

About EHL
Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) is a hospitality management school in Switzerland. The school is consistently regarded as the best hospitality school in the world. It trains students whose goals are to obtain managerial careers in the hotel and hospitality industries. Today, the school welcomes more than 3,200 students from 123 different countries.

About Pacific Resort Hotel Group

Pacific Resort Hotel Group (PRHG), is the Cook Islands leading independent collection of luxury and boutique beachfront resorts. PRHG operate boutique resorts and hospitality facilities underpinned by a focus on local culture, the environment, and unique architectural and landscaping design providing discerning guests with an authentic South Pacific experience. PRHG successfully owns and operates four award-winning resorts under the Pacific Resort brand and has partnered with Moana Sands Group under its Franchise Partner Hotel Program.

About Pacific Resort Aitutaki
Secluded Luxury… The island of Aitutaki, an atoll of lush tropical foliage and white sand beaches ringed by a stunningly beautiful lagoon of turquoise water. This is where you’ll find 5-star luxury resort, Pacific Resort Aitutaki, each morning greeted by a spectacular view of Aitutaki’s world famous lagoon, thanks to the absolute beachfront location of the resort’s 29 spacious and air-conditioned bungalows, villas and suites.

About Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa

The road less travelled… Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa has been designed just for you. This concept in luxury accommodation gives you the freedom to personalise your own leisure experience. Set on the beautiful white sand beach of Rarotonga’s stunning Muri lagoon, your private villa awaits. How you choose to tailor your villa experience is completely up to you.

About Little Polynesian Resort

Inspiring Romance… Little Polynesian is one of the Cook Islands’ most intimate luxury boutique resorts. With just ten beachfront bungalows and four garden studios on a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach, Little Polynesian is committed to providing the ultimate Cook Islands experience through outstanding personalised service that surpasses all expectations.

About Pacific Resort Rarotonga
Authentic Boutique… Pacific Resort is Rarotonga’s leading full-service authentic boutique resort situated in an unrivaled location on the glorious white sands of Muri beach. This premium boutique resort offers a collection of 64, rooms, suites and villas with a perfect blend of modern comforts and traditional island hospitality.

For further information, visit

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