16 June, 2010

Samoa Recovery

Kiwi travel demand for Samoa is again on the up, with some Samoa suppliers reporting 70 - 75% increases in forward bookings, against the first quarter figures, says the Samoa Tourism Authority's Fasitau Ula.

"It's looking pretty good again - we did experience a lull in demand (post tsunami), but that was to be expected, " he says.

Ula says feedback from suppliers has been positive following recent marketing campaigns, the re-opening of some key properties and support from Kiwis keen to contribute to the country's recovery after last year's tsunami.

Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa, which re-opened last month with new fales, re-built and extended ocean view and presidential fales, an ocean view spa and a brand-new over-water restaurant is one of the key properties to re-open, says Ula. And after a raft of difficulties, not least the tsunami and a fire that all but destroyed months of work, Apia's Tanoa Tusitala Hotel is set for re-opening on 1 July, he adds.

The word from wholesalers is that the recovery has started to 'kick in' well, ahead of the winter peak. "Samoa Tourism is really active now, and it's all back to normal," said one.

Ula agrees, saying that the NTO is 'releasing and planning campaigns' with key wholesalers right up to Sep.

Wholesalers says that interest from the Kiwi market is picking up, in part, because people recognise that going for a holiday will help in the country's economic recovery. "They know what's happened there and want to put something back into Samoa," said a wholesaler. "We still see it as a desirable destination and we'll be giving it a push along where we can," said another.

Source: Travel Today; Tuesday 15 June 2010