23 September, 2016     

Samoa Celebrates Boost in Visitor Numbers

Samoa Tourism Authority has released data from Samoa’s Bureau of Statistics showing that Samoa continues to enjoy a rise in visitor numbers during the April–June period.

Figures released for the Quarter show 35,225 visitors clearing customs, an increase of 11% from 2015.

Total arrivals for the year-to-date stand at 65,274 (compared to 58,559 in 2015).
In June alone, 12,773 visitor arrivals were recorded, representing growth of 10% versus the same period last year.

For the (Apr–Jun) Quarter, 38% of total visitors were Leisure travellers, while 30% and 10% were Visiting Friends and Relatives and Business travellers respectively. All purpose of travel recorded solid double digit increases from 2015 with Leisure up 11%, VFR at 15% and Business at 14% higher.

Sonja Hunter, CEO of Samoa Tourism Authority says that the figures indicate growing confidence amongst travellers.

“Our promotional efforts are paying off, especially in source markets such as the USA where we are getting healthy arrival figures from. Our activities out in the market as well as on social media are capturing the attention of a new breed of traveller that is looking for a tropical getaway with a difference.  The increase of visitors to our islands shows that Samoa is a place that has something to offer all kinds of travellers,” says Sonja.

Top source markets recorded healthy arrival figures with New Zealand leading the pack with numbers, and American Samoa and the USA recording the highest growth percentages (during the quarter).
•    New Zealand: 15,095 visitors (3% growth)
•    Australia: 7,152 visitors (10% growth)
•    American Samoa: 3,646 visitors (19% growth)
•    USA: 3,038 visitors (14% increase)

“We are confident that these numbers will hold, if not increase in the coming months as we continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that we are able to exceed the expectations of visitors and provide them the paradise experience they have come for,” says Sonja.



  16 September, 2016     

Samoa Fashion Week 2016

This week Samoa showed itself to be the fashion and style capital of the South Pacific as it hosted the inaugural Samoa Fashion Week – SAC Runway 2016.

The first of its kind in Samoa, the week kicked off in South Pacific style with a Charity Fashion Cocktail event at the Tanoa Tuitala Hotel.

The week-long event aims to showcase the work of emerging local designers and culminates on the 16th with a glittering runway show where two emerging designers will be selected as this year’s winners, they will then attend the Pacific Runway Fashion Show in Sydney, Australia.

Watch a video of the opening event here

Fashion Forums and Markets, which feature established designers and labels were held during the week.

Samoan fashion has been in the media recently when Parris Goebel – renowned choreographer, dancer and actress – wore an off-the-shoulder, sapphire coloured Pasifika-inspired gown by E’vana Couture, one of Samoa’s celebrated labels, at the MTV VMA Awards. Goebels was honoured at the awards with three nominations for her work on Justin Bieber’s Sorry video.

Samoa Fashion Week is the brainchild of the Samoa Arts Council (SAC) and its collaboration with the Pacific Runway Fashion Show Sydney Australia.

“It’s time Samoa celebrated the local talent of which we have plenty of,” says Sonja Hunter, CEO Samoa Tourism Authority.

“The beauty of our country, the bright colours and shapes which feature in our tropical paradise have no doubt been of great inspiration to these emerging talent. Mother Nature has gifted us with beauty in abundance, and our appreciation of it is expressed through the work of these gifted artists, who have used these natural gifts as inspiration for what we have seen thus far.  This week so far has proven that our local talent is on par with the region, no, the world”, says Sonja.

Experience this beauty for yourselves and take home some local fashion and visit our islands now. Contact your travel agent for the latest deals or go to www.samoa.travel for more deals. Beautiful Samoa awaits ...

Visit the Samoa Fashion Week Facebook page.



  13 September, 2016     

Sheraton sees potential in VFR

Samoa’s two Sheraton properties see considerable potential in the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market out of New Zealand and Australia.

Mark Francis, complex general manager, and Sherrilyn Charles, complex director of sales and marketing, at Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows, and Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort; are in the country now to connect with key trade partners.

Francis says the New Zealand market remains number one for Samoa and the figure continues to rise steadily at about 5% a year. He says it can be dicult to separate the leisure market from VFR traffic but adds that both can represent good business for the hotels.

‘We are focusing on that VFR market. Some of these people have lived in New Zealand or Australia for at least 10 to 15 years and their expectations on accommodation may have changed in that time. They might want to mix it up between the village and the hotel.

 

Source - Travelinc Memo



  08 September, 2016     

Talofa Airways Offer Inter Samoa Swift Travel in Comfort

The privately own Samoa-based Talofa Airways is “go”. Launched on 22 August 2016 in Apia, Talofa Airways offers regular 25-minute flights to neighbouring American Samoa after the US Department of Transportation (DOT) granted it exemption authority.

Talofa Airlines bring in additional seats for inter Samoa travel with six scheduled flights a day that started to operate from 30 August from both Faleolo International airport (APW) and Apia’s Fagali’i airport . The schedule will be reviewed at the end of September according to Toleafoa with the plan to increase the frequency.

This new airline is the realisation of a dream by the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Toleafoa Jeffrey Hunter and wife Maria Westerlund Hunter. During the official opening, Toleafoa recalled that in 1996, his family had to decide between setting up a family business in Samoa or move to the United States. They decided to stay in Samoa where they would contribute to its development with their skills. Toleafoa did his homework analyzing the right aircraft, the market, costs, aviation laws and everything about the logistics. He then decided on the Twin Commander aircraft to start operations.

At the launch, Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi congratulated Toleafoa Jeffrey and Maria Hunter for believing in their vision and their perseverance. “I am confident that improved access will enhance opportunities for our people and tourists that wish to experience the two Samoa’s”.

The airline is planning to open more routes to neighbouring islands over the coming months including Tonga.

Full schedule information and airfares are available on www.talofaairways.com

-ENDS-



  12 August, 2016     

Visitor Numbers on the Rise in Beautiful Samoa

Samoa Tourism Authority has released data for April showing continued confidence by overseas visitors for Samoa.

Official figures show an increase of 21.2% for the month, with a whopping 11,206 visitors (up from 9,243 in 2015) clearing customs at the Treasured Islands.

All markets and purpose of travel recorded solid increases with Holiday and VFR segments, which make up 69% of total arrivals, recording net growth of 16.9% and 13.9% respectively.

Top source markets recording huge arrival figures are New Zealand (16.5% increase) and USA (45.7%), with Asia and Europe also clocking in with an increase in figures compared to the same month last year. Australia recorded steady figures with an 8% increase.

Sonja Hunter, CEO of Samoa Tourism Authority says that the figures presented heralds an exciting stage in Samoa, with emerging markets discovering the Treasured Islands.

 “Figures coming out of Asia and Europe have been extremely exciting, with Samoa becoming a consideration for holiday makers and planners in these new emerging markets.

“We look forward to welcoming new visitors to our islands and show them the hospitality that we are world famous for,” says Sonja.



  11 August, 2016     

Two Islands One Great Price

Visitors to Samoa can now see and experience more of Beautiful Samoa with two destinations for the price of one.

For just $1645NZ (for Kiwis) or $1550AUD (for Aussies) pp* travellers to Samoa will experience the gorgeous Le Vasa Resort on Upolu for two nights before heading over to the big island of Savai’i to experience a slower pace of living while staying at the stunning sunset paradise of Le Lagoto Resort and Spa for three nights.

Packages include:
•    Return airport to resort transfers
•    Return resort to ferry terminal transfers on Upolu
•    Return resort to ferry terminal transfers on Savai’i
•    Return first class ferry tickets to and from Savai’i
•    2 nights at Le Vasa Resort
•    3 nights at Le Lagoto Resort

Visitors have the choice of three room options at Le Vasa and two at Le Lagoto. All packages include tropical breakfast daily and other value adds.

For bookings and availability please contact sales@levasaresort.com and lelagotoreservations@samoa.ws.  Please quote booking code 2ISLANDS.

*Prices are based on lead in room rates, are available for direct bookings only and are subject to change and availability. Promotion is available for bookings and stays to 31 March 2017. Airfares are not included. Terms and conditions apply. Book now to avoid disappointment.



  20 July, 2016     

Beautiful Samoa remains a safe and peaceful destination

In light of recent reports regarding the the attack on two Australian visitors in 2015, the Samoa Tourism Authority expresses its support to Angie Jackson and Tommy Williams and wish them comfort and closure.

There is simply no excuse for the appalling crime.

The accused has pleaded guilty to the related charges and will be sentenced on 22nd July.

Major changes have been implemented and continue to be implemented to improve the current systems and ensure the safety of locals and guests to Samoa.

The Hon. Sala Fata Pinati, who is the Minister of Police, has been appointed the new Minister of Tourism and he has pledged to ensure that the two key agencies work closely together to further the Safe Samoa Campaign.

The local economy relies heavily on tourism, with the livelihood of many people and communities depending on it.

Samoa continues to be a safe and peaceful destination and many who have experienced our beautiful country will know that the crime committed is a rarity.



  15 July, 2016     

Samoa's Aggie Grey's Hotel and Bungalows Opens with New Look

Samoa welcomes its second global hotel brand as the iconic Aggie Grey’s Hotel in the centre of Samoa’s capital city, Apia, reopens its doors on August 1, 2016 as The Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Bungalows.

It follows the opening of the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort last year.

Founded in 1933 by Aggie Grey, it has seen various reincarnations; from burger joint to serve the troops to a hostel dormitory for visiting servicemen.

Many people of note walked through its doors including international dignitaries as well as Hollywood sensation Marlon Brando.

The 175 rooms, bungalows and suites have been renovated and refurbished to contemporary standards with a distinct Samoan ‘voice’ in the design. The property retains its colonial look enhanced with modern touches, designed to appeal to the modern traveler.

Sonja Hunter, CEO of Samoa Tourism Authority, says Samoa welcomes the partnership, especially from a global brand who identifies Samoa’s unique selling point and respects and preserves its culture and unique identity.

“Aggie Grey herself is an icon and a much loved figure in Samoan history, and it is an honour for a brand such as Sheraton to come to partnership with Samoa and the Grey Family . Beautiful Samoa will be an excellent inclusion to the Sheraton client’s travel planner, with our unique culture, pristine natural environment and friendly locals that will make you feel right at home. Samoans are known all over the world for our hospitality. Aggie Grey embodied this and it is wonderful to have the Sheraton recognize and immortalize this,” says Sonja.

The Sheraton Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows officially opens on August 1, 2016, and to celebrate, the hotel is offering an exclusive rate of USD$170 a night, which is valid until November 30, 2016.  For more information and bookings please go to The Sheraton Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows or contact your local travel agent.