08 August, 2013

First global chain arrives in Samoa

Starwood Hotels and Resorts will become the first major global hotel chain to enter the Samoan accommodation market after it was revealed the country’s most iconic hotel brand, Aggie Grey’s, would be rebranding its two properties as Sheraton hotels.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Starwood and Aggie Grey’s in Apia on Wednesday, will see both properties – Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Aggie Grey’s Beach Resort and Spa – become part of the world’s largest luxury hotel family from next year.

Speaking at the gathering, Samoan Prime Minister Honorable Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr Sailele Malielegaoi said the arrangement marked “a milestone in the journey of Samoa’s tourism industry”.

“Having the presence of a luxury hotel chain will make a vast difference to the development of the tourism industry,” he remarked.

As well as gaining from Starwood’s extensive marketing networks, highly developed reservation systems and a loyalty program which would drive return visits and greater spending, the PM said the new deal would have “significant spin-off benefits through improved status in the hospitality and service sectors”.

But perhaps most importantly, the move represented “a clear demonstration of foreign investment and confidence in Samoa”.

Signing the MoU for Aggie Grey’s Beach Resort and Spa, chief executive Lupesina Frederick Grey said the deal would take Samoan tourism to “a whole new level”.

“Samoa is at that stage now where it needs a lift in terms of its next growth area in tourism,” he told reporters after the announcement, which was made at the Samoa Conference Centre.

“We believe that having a global chain partner with us in Samoa will take the destination to that level.”

Representing Starwood at the event was Starwood chief executive North America Robert Hermany and Vice President North America Global Acquisitions and Development Siddharth Narang.

Stay tuned for more news from Samoa, where e-Travel Blackboard was on location.

Source = ETB News: Mark Harada