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 March 06, 2014
Cook Islands Chosen As Location For Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue

 Sports Illustrated is celebrating the magazine's 50th Anniversary with the debut of its iconic 2014 swimsuit issue photographed in the Cook Islands, in the South Pacific.

According to John Petersen, General Manager North America for Cook Islands tourism, travel officials are optimistic that the edition will stir significant interest in visiting the pristine islands, given that the magazine has more than 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million people each week.

The 50th Anniversary edition cover was shot at the stunning Aitutaki Lagoon in the Cook Islands, one of the most spectacular of all South Pacific destinations where a triangular shaped reef encompasses Aitutaki lagoon which is imbedded with massive coral heads, and is home to countless varieties of brilliantly colored tropical fish and marine life.

"From the North American Cook Islands Tourism office, we also hope to capture the targeted audience of both Sports Illustrated readers and viewers to our new website, which explains the Cook Islands story, and links to special airfares and leisure packages. This method is one of the best ways to convey to Sports Illustrated readers the options for vacationing in the Cook Islands, one of the most idyllic visitor experiences in the world," adds Petersen.

Air New Zealand, the leading airline to the Cook Islands, also chose Aitutaki to shoot its newest in flight safety video, "Safety in Paradise" in celebration of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's 50th anniversary.

The safety video combines the picturesque Cooks with some of the biggest names in modelling including Christie Brinkley, Chrissy Teigen, Ariel Meredith, Hannah Davis and Jessica Gomes. Making a special guest appearance is one of the original supermodels, Christie Brinkley, who famously appeared on three consecutive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit covers.

Air New Zealand Head of Global Brand Development Jodi Williams says working with the Sports Illustrated franchise was a phenomenal opportunity to further lift the airline's brand on the global stage and to promote a key Pacific Island destination the airline has been flying to for more than 40 years.

With the magazine's 50th Anniversary issue, which hits newsstands across the country last week, the North American Cook Islands Tourism office also plans to leverage positive publicity in the future by working closely with the national magazine's public relations, promotions, and special events departments to position the Cook Islands utilizing the Islands' official branding and messaging. This emphasis will also be combined with an integrated online campaign to ensure the momentum generated by the 50th Anniversary issue.

Historically, since the swimsuit edition's debut in 1964, the magazine has chosen some of the most exotic and prestigious locations in the world for photography. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit franchise reaches more than 62 million people annually.