09 February, 2016     

Romantic Adventure in Beautiful Smaoa

Escape to beautiful Samoa for a Romantic Holiday, with this amazing air and land package from Our Pacific staying at the adults only Seabreeze Resort and flying with Virgin Samoa.

Known as the soul of Samoa in the heart of paradise, this intimate and exclusive resort guarantees peace and serenity in a stunning location where you can embrace and rekindle the romance in your relationship.

From $1,399pp* your Seabreeze Resort romantic getaway includes:
• 5 nights in an Ocean View Villa
• Champagne breakfast daily
• A SAT$350 resort credit
• A 30 minute massage per person
• Free mini bar refreshed daily of 2 x beers, 1 x wine, 2 x softdrinks, 2 x waters and snacks
• Return airport to resort transfers
• Return Virgin Samoa economy class seat & checked luggage from Auckland to Apia (inclusive of all airfare taxes, surcharges and levies)

Pay $399pp for an additional two nights and receive an extra SAT$150 food and beverage credit per room (pay only $299pp for 5 x lunches and 5 x dinners).

For more information on this romantic getaway package as well as other amazing deals, visit our deals page.

So hurry, before this Seabreeze Resort deal is gone with the wind.

*Sales ends 26th February or until sold out. Prices subject to change.
Travel subject to blackout periods.

For more information or for the latest deals or go to www.samoa.travel



  05 February, 2016     

Samoa's Anti-Zika Campaign

Travellers are being advised that the Government of Samoa is actively working with key agencies and citizens to take precautionary measures, following global warnings and advice from the World Health Organisation.

Samoa’s Ministry of Health is continuing with educational campaigns through national media, surveillance and control programs and source reduction and screening activities at a governmental and local level.

Zika infection is a mild febrile mosquito viral illness, transmitted by the bite of the Aeces mosquito species. It is closely related to the dengue virus.

As part of anti-ZIKA campaign, the Samoan Government has set up seven Active Syndromic Sentinel Surveillance sites around the country, maintains an Ongoing Notification list and Awareness programs, regularly conducts fogging to control adult mosquito numbers and source reduction practices by destroying breeding sites through constant cleaning at a grass roots level.

All travellers, especially those who are pregnant, are encouraged to educate themselves on ZIKA and to ensure that symptoms are recognised and addressed immediately.  Travellers are also advised to be mindful as they normally would when travelling and ensure that precautions are taken such as taking mosquito repellant, wearing long sleeved shirts and trousers and pay attention to public service announcements.

The Samoan Government is working closely with the community to ensure that health and hygiene standards are maintained to protect residents and visitors and resorts, tour operators and food providers have set up the necessary measures to ensure that their guests and clients are safe.

-END-

For more information, contact:
Dr. Saine Vaai - Public Health Physician, Ministry of Health
Email - SaineV@health.gov.ws   or

Hesed Ieremia - PR &Communications Officer, Samoa Tourism Authority
Email - hesed@samoa.travel



  04 February, 2016     

Beautiful Samoa, Your Heart's Desire

Whether it’s to impress your loved one for Valentine’s Day with a fabulous weekend away, or a romantic location to propose, or if it’s for an unexpected location where you can reconnect with your loved one, there is no better place to be than Beautiful Samoa – located in the heart of the South Pacific.

Just a short five hour trip across the glorious South Pacific but a world away from the hustle and bustle of home, Samoa is the perfect place to getaway from the day to day distractions and connect with your loved one.

With the scent of frangipani wafting through the air, the ocean lapping onto the beach and the hypnotic singing of the locals, Samoa's stunning natural settings make a magical backdrop for a romantic escape to paradise.

What better place to consider than the adults only resorts such as Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa, Seabreeze Resort or Return to Paradise resort, all located along a stunning beach and coral lagoon coming out with 5 night packages from as little as $899* per person.

So if you are in love with the idea of escaping to paradise but stuck for choices, let us make it easy for you. Visit our deals page and pick the package that speaks to your heart and book it, to secure your little piece of paradise.

Click here to access our romance deals to the Heart of the South Pacific, Beautiful Samoa.

*Terms and conditions apply. Refer to website for details.

For more information or for the latest deals or go to www.samoa.travel



  01 February, 2016     

Samoa Tourism Exchange 2016

samoa tourism exchange

Beautiful Samoa
12-14 April

SAVE THE DATES!

Initiated in 2008, it has since grown to become a major tourism exchange in the South Pacific and is coordinated by the Samoa Tourism Authority on behalf of the Government with the support of the industry.  

STE brings together Samoa's suppliers of tourism products and services ('Sellers') and Travel Product and Contracting Managers from across a number of source markets ('Buyers'), in a business-to-business setting.

Benefits of attending:
• Greater Networking Scope
• Easier Access to Multiple Suppliers/Sellers
• Greater Business Opportunities
• Faster Response
• Improved Industry/Market Knowledge

Buyers from across New Zealand, Australia, the USA, UK/Europe, China, South Korea, Japan and American Samoa will be at STE 2016.

Be sure to register your interest to take part at STE.

Registration coming soon!

*STA reserves the right to accept/decline any registration as it deems necessary.
 
THE PROGRAM
12 April: Opening and Welcome Fiafia
13-14 April: STE Exhibition Days
14 April: Closing and Farewell Function



  28 January, 2016     

Samoa raises the goal posts with help from the All Blacks

Samoa raises the goal posts with help from the All Blacks

Travelinc Memo, 28 January

On the back of a 15% hike in tourism numbers last year aided by the July All Blacks test against Samoa in Apia, the country’s newest hotel has announced it’s taking former Kiwi rugby great Michael Jones under its wing as brand ambassador.

Laura Wadsworth, representing the $60 million Taumeasina Island Resort opening in Apia on 1 June, told a Samoan tourism industry luncheon this week that Jones, a village chief, was taking up the position on 1 February, happy at a chance to provide a boost for the country.

Meanwhile, Samoan Tourism Authority marketing and promotions manager Dwayne Bentley says the boutique 104-room resort was exactly the type of hotel the country had in mind as it moves towards becoming a premier-class destination.

This year’s opening of the four-star, around 170-room Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows and luxurious Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa were also steps in the right direction, he says.

A three-year upgrade of the main gateway, Faleolo International Airport, will also ‘take Samoa to the next level’ Bentley adds. The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi is on board, launching the Samoa Tourism Excellence Awards, which take place in January next year.

While Bentley says Samoan tourism will be driven by targeting families and couples, events – such as Joseph Parker’s winning boxing match last week – were a huge part of its growth strategy.

Samoa last year drew 137,000 guests, and Bentley is confident the country will enjoy at least a minimum 5% growth this year. Kiwis – who represent 46% of the visitor numbers – would also be a target, and New Zealanders can expect to be hearing a lot more from the country this year, he says.

Attending the 30-strong function, Air New Zealand’s product and pricing specialist Hylda Bloomfield says the market continues to grow at a nice pace. ‘We are not seeing a decline after the All Black test. Samoa continues to get better and it continues to want to do better too, which helps us as an airline. It makes our work easier.’

?#‎BeautifulSamoa? ?#‎VisitSamoa2016?

Photo credit - Penina Momoisea



  28 January, 2016     

Big Development In Samoa

Travel Today, 28 January

It’s set to be a busy year for tourism in Samoa with new hotels and resorts opening, paired with plenty of events and attractions. Speaking at a lunch in Auckland yesterday for key trade partners, visiting Samoa Tourism Authority’s Dwayne Bentley said this year is going to be a ‘game changer’ for the country. An inclination, perhaps, was the ‘huge growth’ in the Kiwi market last year, and with more offerings this year, this is looking set to increase yet again. Bentley added that agents can expect to see him here in New Zealand more often, working closely with local rep Sonny Rivers, in a bid to further build relationships with the trade and in general, be more visible in the Kiwi market.

New for 2016 includes the much anticipated opening of Sheraton Samoa’s Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows which is marked for 15 Apr, adding 175 new rooms to the market. Sheraton Samoa’s Carl Amos said while there have been a few delays, after seeing the hotel last week, ‘it’s looking very much on track for that date’.


There’s also the Taumeasina Island Resort tipped to open 01 Jun. Situated on the north coast of Apia, the fourstar resort will offer a mix of hotel suites and private villa accommodation, conference and wedding facilities, watersports and more. Former All Black Michael Jones has signed on as brand ambassador, and the resort is set to crank up its promotions, as well as work closely with agents.

Meanwhile, the owners of Saletoga Sands are on track for a soft opening of sister property Saletoga Beach Hotel & Bungalows in Apr, advises Coconuts Travel Marketing. Once complete, clients will have the choice of staying in one of nine
beach bungalows, or in a two storey hotel room block.

Photo credit - Penina Momoisea



  15 January, 2016     

Samoa voted in the Top 10 Most Ethical Places to Visit

Samoa-voted-in-the-top-10-most-ethical-places-to-visit

Ethical Traveler is a non-profit organisation and a project of the Earth Island Institute which survey’s the world’s developing nations and assesses their performance in the areas of Social Welfare, Human Rights and Environmental Protection. Each year, Ethical Traveler releases a list of countries that excel in these areas in a bid to encourage travelers to visit destinations that contribute to a safer and more sustainable world. Ethical Traveler utilizes information provided by sources such as Freedom House, The Millennium Challenge Corporation, Reporters without Borders, UNICEF, the World Bank, Amnesty International and various LGBT sources.

In order to make this list, each country must also offer unspoiled natural beauty, great outdoor activities and the opportunity to interact with local people and cultures in a meaningful, mutually enriching way. Needless to say, Samoa fit the bill in every category.

Samoa received a perfect score from Freedom House in the areas of Social Welfare and Human Rights. Samoa issued a State of Human Rights report in 2015, the first of its kind in the country, which aims to increase measures already put in place to further protect women, children, people with disabilities and prisoners.

In another step to preserve and protect its natural resources and beauty, Samoa scored high in the Environmental Protection category with the country launching new solar plants in 2015, on its way to meeting its objective of plans to providing 100% sustainable energy by 2017.

“Climate change affects our islands dramatically and we feel the effects of that first, so we have an important role to play in educating the world on this front and to continue to lead by example, especially in sustainable tourism development” says Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi, Minister of Tourism.

“We have a unique culture found nowhere else in the world, the foundation of which is based on respect – for each other, for visitors and of course our surroundings. Visit Samoa and see for yourselves why it is so important for us to protect and preserve what we have – our culture, our people and our surroundings - to live as one with nature, sustainably and with respect so that future generations can enjoy the natural beauty we are blessed with.”

2016 is Visit Samoa year. For the latest events and deals visit www.samoa.travel.



  11 May, 2014     

Bewitched by Beauty

Samoa is a laid-back paradise, writes Nina Karnikowski.

When I was 10 years old, I had a teacher who was completely enamoured with Samoa. I recall her getting misty-eyed as she talked about its natural beauty and I wondered, as I cut the silhouette of what I imagined Samoa might look like (a lump with a palm tree sticking out of it) from black cardboard, what could be so special about this small glob of land.

Two decades later, as my husband and I arrive on the wooden deck of our villa at Samoa's Seabreeze Resort, I begin to understand.

The deck, shaped like the bow of a ship, juts out from a rocky outcrop and is surrounded by 270-degree views of azure ocean. To our right is the private lagoon that the 11-villa resort hugs. Behind us is lush, vine-choked rainforest. And directly in front of us - a black rock islet with a palm tree sticking out of it.

It's utterly bewitching.

As I learnt those two decades ago, Samoa's two main islands are Upolu and Savai'i (Seabreeze is on the former, about an hour's drive from the capital, Apia). The country has almost no crime, thanks to an indigenous form of governance called fa'amatai, and, as I discover the next morning while preparing to head to a traditional Samoan church service, almost no ownership.

I'm keen to attend church because I've heard wonderful things about the devoutly religious Samoans' gospel singing. The only problem is, I don't have the appropriate white lavalava sarong to wear.

"One of our staff has one," the owner of Seabreeze assures me, "and in Samoa there's no ownership, so if she has one, you have one."

Sure enough, within 10 minutes I'm wrapped in a fresh white lavalava and am being driven to church, past the traditional open-walled houses, or fales, that highlight how loosely the Samoans grasp their possessions.

The service is magic. The locals are clad head to toe in white, the women with elegant hats perched on their heads, and almost everyone is waving palm-leaf fans to combat the morning heat. Listening to the deep, resonant voices singing gospel hymns, as ceiling fans lazily shift the smoke-infused air emanating from the Sunday umus (earth ovens), is just about as close to a religious experience as I'm likely to get.

From this point on, my husband and I effortlessly slip into the lackadaisical rhythm of Samoan life.

By day, we swim and snorkel in the warm waters of Seabreeze's lagoon, watching tropical fish of the most startling colours dart around the rocks and midnight-blue starfish spread themselves across the seabed. We take the resort's glass-bottomed kayaks out for a paddle to the neighbouring deserted beaches, where we climb about in hollowed-out trees and watch dozens of hermit crabs, some just a couple of millimetres long, scuttle over sea-buffed chunks of silvery driftwood. We indulge in a massage on our deck and a glass of bubbles in our very own plunge pool, and are served a dinner of local tuna carpaccio on our deck. Samoa is the first place in the world to see the sunset, a fact of which we remind ourselves as we watch the sky become a technicolour dream of tangerines and starburst yellows.

By night, we laze on our deck's outdoor circular lounge, gazing up at the thick blanket of stars and talking in a way we haven't had a chance to in months. We leave the doors and the slatted glass windows surrounding our spacious suite open, and fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing all around us.

It's all our island holiday dreams come true, and the perfect pause in the forward thrust of our lives.

Eventually, at about the day three mark, we manage to peel ourselves away from Seabreeze and begin exploring the island. A fellow guest got us excited about nearby Vavau Beach: "It's just like the one in the movie The Beach, only better!" he enthused. And, after traipsing rainforest paths by the sea, past a couple of seemingly deserted fales and two young local boys who ask us for 5 tala (about $2.60) each for entry, we discover he was absolutely right. Another palm-fringed crystalline lagoon surrounded by that vine-choked rainforest, Vavau Beach is the kind of place that makes you want to get a bit wild.

We paddle out to the mouth of the ocean and when we spot a hole in the rock face that protects the beach we scramble through and find ourselves facing a string of even more idyllic lagoons. It feels as though we're the first travellers ever to have discovered them.

Just 10 minutes' walk away is the famous To Sua trench, which costs 15 tala ($7) to enter and that immediately transports us to a surreal dream world. Sunken 30 metres into the earth and surrounded by lush green grasses, it's actually a giant tidal hole that formed when the roof of a lava tube collapsed. We manage to stop photographing it for just long enough to descend the steep ladder for a dip, and watch a couple of mad Danish tourists dive in from the lip.

As time slowly inches forward, we discover more of these breathtaking and deeply affecting natural wonders, all of which are virtually devoid of tourists and totally devoid of touts. There's the Piula cave pool, a freshwater swimming hole that reaches into a series of caves with an underwater cavity leading to a secret exit; Papapapaitai Falls, which tumble 100 metres into a vast green gorge; Lalomanu Beach on the south coast, a palm-fringed white slash of sand dividing blue water and green craggy volcanic peaks, ringed by candy-coloured beach huts; the Pupu Pu'e national park's coastal walk, which weaves through a pandanus forest and emerges at an expansive field of wrinkly lava, created when a nearby volcano erupted 3000 years ago, and now pockmarked with blowholes fed by the ocean.

All visits are accompanied by a symphony of cicadas and gently falling waves, and legends whispered by gentle, friendly locals.

Our favourite is the tale of Sina and the Eel, which tells of a beautiful girl, Sina, who, when her pet eel fell in love with her, got scared and asked the village chiefs to kill him. As the eel was dying, he asked Sina to plant his head in the ground, from which a coconut tree grew.

That's why, say the Samoans, when the husk is removed from a coconut there are three circular marks that appear like the face of the eel - one of these is pierced for drinking the coconut, so whenever Sina took a drink she was kissing the eel, forever more.

My husband and I can't look at our coconuts the same way for the rest of our trip - and we see a lot of them. We drink at least one each day, and they're used every which way in the fresh local cuisine - palusami, a spinach and coconut-infused dip, is a favourite.

On our final night, as we sit half-submerged in Seabreeze's ocean-front infinity pool sipping our last local Vailima beer, I find myself getting misty-eyed and spare a thought for my teacher. This beautiful place has certainly cast its spell on me, too.

The writer travelled courtesy of Seabreeze Resort Samoa.

GETTING THERE
From Sydney, it's a five-hour flight with Virgin Australia to Samoa. See virginaustralia.com.

STAYING THERE
Seabreeze Resort offers 11 rooms for couples and families, starting at $325 a night, including breakfast. Honeymoon Point House (the villa in which we stayed) has a minimum three-night stay, at $557 a night including breakfast. Full and half-day tours of the island are run by Seabreeze in-house staff. Charter boat fishing can also be arranged. Traditional Samoan handicraft lessons are held on Fridays, followed at 6pm by the Seabreeze staff's own Fiafia show - including traditional dancing, singing and fire twirling on the beach - and Samoan feast. See seabreezesamoa.com.

MORE INFORMATION
samoa.travel.

THREE OTHER THINGS TO SEE AND DO
CULTURE STOP
The Samoa Cultural Village, in the heart of Upolu's capital, Apia, is a good place to stop off on day one or two if you're keen to get familiar with the local traditions and culture. Watch demonstrations of carving, weaving, umu and handicrafts-making, and, if you time your visit right, see a wince-inducing full-body tattooing session take place. While you're in "town" (Apia is small), have a peek inside the flea market (conch shells, carved bowls and shell necklaces all feature prominently), and stop off for top-notch local flavours at Bistro Tatau. See bistrotatau.ws.

TREASURE TROVE
Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, had fabulous taste. You will discover this if you visit his stately mansion-turned-museum in Vailima, in which he wrote and lived for the five years before his death in the 1890s. If you're feeling energetic, take the 40-minute uphill hike to the author's tomb at the top of Mount Vaea behind the house. It's 20 tala (about $9.30) for entry, tour and, if you're lucky, a song. See rlsmuseum.com.

WATERSLIDE
Papaseea Sliding Rocks, a series of mossy waterfalls that function as a natural waterslide, is 6 kilometres from Apia town. They're definitely worth a whoosh, but make sure you check there's enough water in there before you make the effort to head over. Entry is 2 tala (about 90 cents).