09 February, 2010

Samoa recovery underway

The Samoa Tourism Authority’s plan to launch a major television advertising campaign in Australia has been temporarily shelved as concerns mount the destination is being swamped by the discount deals offered by its rivals.

The country is recovering from the devastating tsunami last September, with a series of roadshows taking place around Australia (see pg 3). The Authority launched a $150,000 television campaign in November in partnership with Viva Holidays, with plans to roll out a larger campaign in February (Travel Today, October 26).

Lorenzo McFarland, the Samoa Tourism Authority’s Australian marketing representative, told Travel Today the campaign has been delayed by two months as the government ploughs money into rebuilding projects.

He stressed other promotional activity will not be impacted. “We still have the existing allocations for press advertising with wholesalers, that is not affected,” he added.

A smaller online campaign has also launched in partnership with Yahoo.

Meanwhile, McFarland said the raft of deals in the market from rival destinations was making it very hard to compete.

“Fiji has air deals from $150 return. It is swallowing us up,” Macfarland said.

He hopes to hold talks with Polynesian Blue – the only carrier to fly direct from Australia to Samoa – about the possibility of cutting fares to drive demand. Polynesian Blue flights between Australia and Apia were 50% full.

The roadshow will continue in Brisbane tonight, before moving to Adelaide on the 10th and Melbourne on the 11th.

SOURCE: Travel Weekly