by Alan Ah Mu
APIA: FRIDAY 19 JULY 2013: Overseas Samoans who visit are tourists.
At least that’s what Central Bank of Samoa says.
In its Tourism Earnings & Remittances Report for April 2013, the bank says:
“According to international convention, a tourist to Samoa is a person who normally resides abroad and is visiting Samoa for a period that is more than 24 hours and less than 12 months in duration.
“It therefore includes ‘Samoans’ who reside permanently abroad but are visiting friends and relatives in Samoa for a short time.”
In recent controversy members of tourism who said their industry was in crisis argued that official statistics are inaccurate since they include visiting overseas Samoans as tourists.
It is well-known that many overseas Samoans never see the inside of a hotel room while “home” because they stay with relatives or friends.
Central Bank says for the first 10 months of 2012/2013 earnings from tourism stood at $257.5 million.
In the same period of 2011/12, earnings were $264.6 million – so there was a 2.7percent drop this year, the bank says.