There’s plenty of developments underway in Samoa as it looks to boost its tourism infrastructure, including new hotels and the redevelopment of Apia’s waterfront — and a delegation of Kiwi wholesalers was in Samoa last week to see what’s happening first-hand. The Samoa Tourism Authority has designated 2016 as Visit Samoa Year, in celebration of the country becoming a ‘five-star destination’ with the opening of Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Bungalows, and the Taumeasina Island Resort. Preparations underway this year will also pave the way for the inaugural Samoa Tourism Excellence Awards.
“Tourism is the mainstay of our economy and we have selected to continue pioneering sustainable tourism, as we have stated in our tourism sector plan and vision that by 2019 Samoa will have a growing tourism sector,” says Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
Last year, Samoa enjoyed record arrivals with an overall growth rate of 5.4%, thanks largely to the All Blacks game in July and the Commonwealth Youth Games in September. Holiday visitors contributed most to the increase, now representing 37% of all visitors.
New Zealand is the largest market and contributed 44% of visitor arrivals in 2015 to a total of 61,645 - growth of 12% in 2014.
Last week, STA hosted the Samoa Tourism Exchange, which saw travel industry guests from around the world (including New Zealand) meet with exhibitors from across the industry. It kicked off with an opening ceremony on 12 April and was closed on the evening of 15 April at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort.
- Travel Today