28 January, 2010
Aussie travellers returning to Samoa
January 28, 2010 - 8:09AM
is back on the radar among Aussie travellers just four months after a
devastating tsunami claimed the lives of 143 people, Sydney-based
travel agent Jamie Strickland says.
numbers from the Samoan Tourism Authority (STA) aren't due until next
week, the managing director of Coral Seas Travel said interest in the
island has picked up post-Christmas.
profiles are certainly going back, not quite to the same levels they
were pre-tsunami... but certainly the profile is starting to pick back
up again," Strickland said on Wednesday.
A dozen tourists, including five Australians, died in the September 29 disaster, which also claimed 11 resorts.
said it was hard to compare figures from the previous year as recent
economic troubles forced potential travellers to tighten purse strings.
"But considering what the country's been through it's actually quite surprising how quickly it's bounced back," he said.
Fiji and Vanuatu are South Pacific favourites among Australians,
Strickland said Samoa is "becoming a bit of an alternative".
are finding people that have been to Fiji, they've been to Vanuatu,
they like the South Pacific so Samoa tends to be the next one they tick
off and get the stamp in their passport."
spokeswoman for the STA said the nation experienced a "huge increase"
in visitors in the weeks following the tsunami but, "a majority of
those people were her on relief work".
of Aussie tourists fell by almost a quarter in November and the
authority aren't sure what to expect when the December figures are
revealed next week.
"I can't really say at the
moment, I will have to wait to see when the numbers come through, at
the moment we're not really sure."
SOURCE: The Sydney Morning Herald (www.smh.com.au)