Accessibility is a major challenge for Samoa tourism
Discussing aviation and tourism are Afamasaga Poumulinuku Onesemo, CEO of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure; Tupuivao Alvin Tuala, CEO of Polynesian Airlines; Magele Hoe Jerome Viali, CEO of the Samoa Airport Authority; and Adele Kruse, Chairperson of the STA Board and President of the Samoa Hotel Association
BY Chloe Chomicki*
APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 21 APRIL 2017: Samoa’s tourism industry was today told that there is still plenty of work to be done and many more discussions to be held before major improvements to have easier direct air services access for tourists to fly to Samoa.
Papalii Matatamalii Sonja Hunter, CEO of the Samoan Tourism Authority, identified that improving accessibility is a key factor in improving tourism in Samoa.
This came out of the Samoa Tourism Forum at the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi Conference Centre that addressed the many concerns to improve the tourism industry.
The forum covered many areas including sustainable tourism, tourism growth and partnerships for tourism development. However Samoa’s accessibility for visitors and tourists quickly became one of the major concerns.
Phil Wrath, Managing Director of Complete Aviation Solutions, confirmed that accessibility in terms of aviation directly correlates with tourism figures.
“Historically any increase in aviation results in a direct increase in tourism,” said Wrath. “Passengers generally prefer to fly on a direct service that minimizes their flight time.”
“When we look what is available on the market there are a number of indirect services on top of some direct services and the result is less than optimal decisions for passengers,” he said. “The biggest consideration from an aviation perspective to help grow tourism is to offer choice to passengers.”
Wrath was joined by panelists Afamasaga Poumulinuku Onesemo, CEO of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure; Tupuivao Alvin Tuala, CEO of Polynesian Airlines; Magele Hoe Jerome Viali, CEO of the Samoa Airport Authority; and Adele Kruse, Chairperson of the STA Board and President of the Samoa Hotel Association.
The panel concluded that increasing and improving options for tourists was high on the agenda and of interest to all parties.
However, the discussion still left members asking if they could expect improvement soon.
There was no discussion surrounding the role that cruise ships play in Samoa’s tourism or accessibility.
- Chloe Chomicki is an exchange student from James Cook University studying Journalism at the National University of Samoa