Tourism, pearl farming and agriculture are the principal industries. The islands are economically underdeveloped, largely due to their isolation, and depend on extensive aid from New Zealand. The government is seeking to build up the islands' infrastructure as a precursor to further development.
NZ$287 million (2007).
Copra, fresh fruit and canned citrus fruit, coffee, fish and pearls.
Foodstuffs, textiles, fuels, timber and capital goods.
International telephone is available 24 hours from the telecommunications office (Telecom Cook Islands).
Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Travellers arriving from New Zealand, Australia and Samoa can arrange roaming with their own network providers. Those from other destinations must purchase a Cook Islands' SIM card and top-up cards. Mobile coverage is available in Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
There are Internet facilities in Avarua at the Telecom Cook Islands office (open 24 hours a day), at the post office, at Internet cafes and at computer stores.
Post office hours:
The main radio and TV stations are operated by the privately-owned Elijah Communications, which also publishes weekly newspapers. There are plans in progress for a public radio service. The independent daily, Cook Islands News,is published in Maori and English. The Cook Islands Herald and Cook Islands Independent are weeklies, owned by Elijah Communications.