The New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa HE David Nicholson with members of the NZ group
BY Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 04 APRIL 2017: Samoa tourism continues to push for more and new partnerships to boost the industry through the 3 day Samoa Tourism Exchange 2017 running at the Taumeasina Resort.
Launched by the Minister for Tourism, Salā Fata Pinati, the exchange involves Executive Product Managers from Partner Travel Trade Establishments in the performing and emerging tourist source markets around the world.
Some of the delegates have been in Samoa for the first time from North America, the United Kingdom and Asia.
The Minister told the delegates that “tourism is a $370 million talā industry for Samoa and continues to generate employment for our people and contributes about 25% to National GDP.”
The South Pacific Tourism Organisation has forecast an increase of Average Visitor Arrivals from 1.9 Million over the past three years, to 2.3 Million in the year 2020.
“Samoa with your partnership, expects to grow its own tourist market share, and increase visitor arrivals from an average of 135,000 visitors per year over the past 5 years, to 150,000 by the year 2019,” said Salā.
STE was established in 2008 to entice and bring to Samoa travel trade and tourism operators to familiarize and make connections with Samoan tourism operators.
Sala said the Government is working on negotiating direct flights to Samoa as an avenue to bring more tourists into the country.
Some of the achievements of STE in the past is the investment by some overseas tourism operators such as the Taumeasina Island Resort operators, the Sheraton Hotel & Aggie Greys Bungalow and the Tanoa Hotel in Samoa.
Buyers who traveled from Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, the Americas, Europe and Asia have attended a range of activities designed to help the industry sell Samoa to the world, according to Papali’i Sonja Hunter, Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Tourism Authority.
Delegates had opportunities to exchange with local members of the industry who have been showcasing their products at the Taumeasina Resort.
They also toured and inspected first-hand the properties and events available and what Samoa has to offer.
There was also a Food and Wine tour along Upolu’s famed South Coast with stops at the deluxe properties of Aga Reef Resort, Seabreeze Resort, Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa, Coconuts Beach Club Resort and Spa, and Return to Paradise Resort.
“It is hoped that by the end of the three days program, more connections and networking relationship would be established,” said Papali’i.