29 October, 2010 permalink
TSUNAMI AFFECTED BEACH FALES TO RECEIVE NEW ZEALAND HOUSE OF TRAVEL (HOT) DONATIONS
A select number of Beach Fale Properties that were affected by the 29 September 2009 Tsunami will benefit from HOT donations to assist them in their post tsunami recovery processes.
In a special ceremony that will take place at the STA Cultural Centre, today, Friday 29th October 2010 at 6pm, the New Zealand House of Travel (HOT) will present financial assistance to the tsunami affected Beach Fale Properties that are a part of its clientele.
Following the tsunami, the House of Travel (HOT) outlets in New Zealand raised funds to help with the rebuilding of the beach fale operations that it works closely with. The NZD$16,000 that was raised, came about through a united drive by the HOT network across New Zealand. These funds will be presented to the selected beach fale operators this evening by HOT in collaboration with the Hon. Deputy Prime Minister, also the Minister of Tourism, Misa Telefoni:
Taufua Beach Fales - NZ$4000.00
Sea Breeze Resort - NZ$4000.00
Faofao Beach Fales - NZ$2000.00
Litia Sini Beach Fales - NZ$2000.00
Namua Beach Fales - NZ$2000.00
Anita’s Bed & Breakfast - NZ$2000.00
House of Travel is New Zealand’s largest privately owned travel firm, competing in a highly competitive travel booking market. It is also one of the major travel trade partners of the Samoa Tourism Authority and the local travel industry.
GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR
At the conclusion of this presentation, the Government through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour will distribute its yearly assistance to the Private Sector. This financial contribution is part of the Government’s Annual grant towards Administrative Support of the Private Sector.
The Deputy Prime Minister distributed a total of SAT$100,000 particular Private Sector Bodies as set out hereunder:
Women in Business Development Inc - $40,000.00
Samoa Chamber of Commerce - $17,500.00
Samoa Association of Manufactures and Exporters - $12,500.00
Samoa Hotels Association (SHA) - $12,500.00
Samoa Crops Cooperation Association for Exports Inc (SSCA) - $ 7,500.00
Samoa Mamanu Design & Manufacturers Inc - $ 5,000.00
28 October, 2010 permalink
TAKE A BREAK THE TREASURE ISLAND WAY
Dreaming of an island escape? Wake up and smell the tropics as you turn that dream into a reality with one of the many Samoa on Sale packages now available!
Make your way around our islands and you’ll discover spectacular waterfalls, dramatic blowholes, stunning coral reefs and crystal clear lagoons where you can swim with turtles.
Considered the last bastion of Polynesian culture, a 3000 year old tradition centered on family, respect, love and laughter, you’ll meet wonderfully relaxed people ready to welcome you the Fa’a Samoa way.
Head down to your nearest travel agent for more information.
Sale packages include:
AGGIE GREY’S HOTEL & BUNGALOWS – STAY 7 PAY 5!
* Return flights from Sydney or Brisbane flying Polynesian Blue * 7 nights accommodation * Full breakfast daily for 2 * 2 FREE nights * One round of Golf at the Samoan Country Club * Return transfers * $1165pp twin share
SINALEI REEF RESORT & SPA – STAY 7 PAY 5!
* Return flights from Sydney or Brisbane flying Polynesian Blue * 7 nights accommodation * Tropical breakfast daily * 2 FREE nights * Daily afternoon tea * One round of Golf * 1449pp twin share
HARVEY WORLD TRAVEL. Call 132 757 Now!
CONDITIONS: Issued 27 Oct10. Prices are per person twin share, inclusive of taxes and subject to availability. Valid for sales to 17 Nov 10. Valid for travel to 31 March 11. For travel from Melbourne add $120 per person. Airfares are instant purchase. All costs are in Australian dollars and are subject to change without notice. Seasonal surcharges may apply and booking conditions apply. Please call for an exact quote for the dates you wish to travel.
26 October, 2010 permalink
PT&I and SPTO partner to launch exciting new website!
WIN A TRIP TO SAMOA!
25 October, 2010 permalink
www.lonelyplanet.com/pacificislands is the newest and most exciting location on the internet for anyone interested in adventurous, cultural or nature based travel.
The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I), in cooperation with Lonely Planet, are bringing a fresh and exciting perspective to Pacific travel. Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel content provider, will, via a new Pacific Islands website, offer travellers access to unique destinations and experiences in 16 Pacific destinations. From 1 October 2010, travellers have now been able to access all the latest information on the site.
All16 Pacific Island nations are sharing their Ultimate Destinations with the site and also offering travellers a chance to win a holiday to the many Pacific Island paradises.
Lonely Planet author Brett Atkinson explored the region to create content specifically for the Pacific Islands website. Like all Lonely Planet authors, Brett is an independent, dedicated traveller who visits every destination he writes about..
In addition to extensive travel information, www.lonelyplanet.com/pacificislands features impressive prize packages kindly sponsored by leading airlines, accommodation providers, tour operators and National Tourism Offices in the region. Prizes include flights and/or accommodation to scenic and exotic Pacific locations such as the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, and Vanuatu.
The region’s many airlines offer a fantastic service and they have also been enthusiastic about assisting travellers into the largely English-speaking region.
The South Pacific region is filled with outstanding attractions. These enchanting islands and beautiful people have for hundreds of years stirred the mind and excited the imagination of the adventurous traveller. Each of the countries that make up the Pacific has its own special and individual allure. SPTO and PT&I are hoping to reveal these unique destinations to a new audience and offer an insight into the deep sense of culture and traditional beliefs including music, dance and traditional customs and to highlight the Pacific as a natural adventure Mecca: surfing, diving, fishing, sailing, trekking, swimming with whales, shark callers – to name a few of the attractions. Pacific holidays are value for money, close to home and offer a clean, green experience full of diversity and adventure.
PT&I’s Sydney Trade Commissioner, Caleb Jarvis:
This extensive campaign was originally sparked by the 2009 Samoan Tsunami disaster. We had staff on the ground in Samoa when the earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck and the following devastation drove a message deep into everyone watching, including us. The Pacific Islands rely heavily on its tourism industry and this tragedy motivated us to be more strategic in focusing our resources and programs to assist local tourism operators, be they accommodation providers, tourism operators or associated industries.
After a period of concentrated research and discussion with stakeholders and advisors we found a key component to the Pacific’s tourism marketing as a whole was missing. The Pacific is poorly represented in the growing backpacker, Fully Independent Traveller (FIT) and soft adventure markets due to under representation on high traffic web based accommodation portals and through major outbound travel wholesalers. Concerted information gathering resulted in a FIT focussed tourism marketing campaign featuring web aggregators and niche tourism operators in cooperation with the destination’s National Tourism Offices all partnering in an online marketing campaign.
Our approach is twofold. Firstly we will work with stakeholders and tourism operators to increase the amount of PIC tourism ready stock available on these accommodation booking websites. Secondly, we will support promotions and targeted digital marketing campaigns utilising websites, blogs, social networking and other communication platforms to access the lucrative FIT market in Australia and NZ.
Is this the next Fiji?
By Tracey Spicer
WE'RE standing on the precipice of a pool of blood.
Vaisuatoto, a vast cavern where the souls of high chiefs do battle, is surrounded by thick jungle on the tip of the westernmost point on Earth.
Our guide Dominic hacks through the undergrowth to reveal the untamed beauty of Sunset Point the only place on Earth where you can see tomorrow. A blazing ochre orb dips over the horizon, casting an eerie glow on the shore just metres from the international date line.
"I wanna swim in the blood pool," pleads four-year-old Taj, oblivious to the spiritual significance of this place.
It's ironic that the gentle people of Samoa have such a bloody mythology. While most tourists visit Upolu the most populous of Samoa's 10 islands a one-hour ferry trip takes you back 100 years. The largest island, Savai'i, remains untainted by tourism.
A drive up the east coast is a snapshot of what a tourist brochure would look like: turquoise and emerald waters to the right; a sepia portrait of days gone by on our left. A naked toddler chases a pig to cook for umu (Sunday roast); Methuselah cuts grass with a rusty machete; teenagers play kirikiti, a local version of cricket using a three-sided bat.
In the front yard of each fale - the open-sided huts serving as family home and budget accommodation - there are elaborate headstones. Eighty per cent of the land is owned communally, so Samoans can stay together well beyond this mortal coil.
"These houses look simple but if you were honoured enough to be invited in, you would have the best meal of your life and sleep on the best linen," Dominic says.
Samoans believe that "greeting a guest should be like the joy of the birds greeting the dawn". Smiling families file into the venerable churches that dominate the streetscape; Samoa embraced its Christian missionaries with a messianic fervour. We can hear the gospel singing from our luxury accommodation at Le Lagoto, on the remote north coast. While these 5-star fales are walled and airconditioned, we open the louvres at night so the gentle lapping of the ocean lulls us to sleep.
The island's two main tourist attractions are just down the road the lava fields and turtle sanctuary. Fishermen bring injured greenbacks here to be rehabilitated in the saltwater pond. I dive into the water fists-first, anxious that the prehistoric creatures will mistake my digits for dinner. All fear is forgotten once Crush, from Nemo, glides over to nibble on the papaya leaf in my hand. Three-year-old Grace squeals with delight.
Equally prehistoric-looking is the lava field, the legacy of a devastating volcanic eruption in 1905. Houses and schools have been built on this moonscape, while a historic stone church is frozen in time: folds of black gunk spilling from its doors.
Continuing our circumnavigation, the gin-clear waters of the north morph into wild surf breaks in the west. Here you'll find a series of dramatic blowholes. For a couple of bucks, a friendly local will throw a coconut on to the 200m spout.
Perfect for families
An extremely comfortable, family holiday is on offer at the famed Aggie Grey's on Upolu. In 1942, Aggie, a part-Samoan woman who married a Danish sailor, opened a boarding house for American seamen, which became a world-renowned hotel frequented by celebrities. She was later immortalised as Bloody Mary, a character in the novel Tales of the South Pacific.
There are two hotels now: the old one in the capital Apia and a new property near the airport. At the latter, the kids' club is so good we want to stay there. For us, this is paradise: flower-bedecked bedrooms, tick; beautiful beaches, tick; delicious food, tick; sensational snorkelling, tick (apart from our guide breaking off a branch of coral and giving it to me as a bouquet). The highlight is the fia fia where gorgeous, well-oiled young Samoans perform traditional songs and fire dancing.
Samoa's other famous resident was the author Robert Louis Stevenson, who moved to the warmer climate to improve his health. The author of Treasure Island dubbed Samoans "the happy people", adopting the name Tusitala (storyteller). His magnificent Queenslander-style home, Vailima, in the foothills of the giant Mt Vaea, is now a museum.
A few minutes' walk along the Road of Loving Hearts is Le Manumea, a boutique hotel with ocean views. Across the road is the best pub in town, the Zodiac cafe with its sprawling gardens and rockin' house band. We're happily sipping gin and tonics when the band stops suddenly.
"Hey," yells the drummer, "let's sing something for the kids."
Four burly, tattooed Samoan blokes proceed to sing Incy, Wincy Spider complete with hand actions to our delighted children.
Leaving Samoa, I'm convinced this is the next Fiji. It's cheaper, friendlier and untouched by hordes of tourists. Despite the devastating tsunami last year, for these special people the sun will rise again tomorrow, with the promise of a brighter future.
22 October, 2010 permalink
Samoa 2010 International Jazz & Blues Festival
Reverend Keith A. Gordon, Blues Guide
Blues fans from "down under" need to know that the first annual Samoa 2010 International Jazz & Blues Festival will be held from November 12th through 14th, 2010 on the beautiful Upolu Island in Samoa. The promoters of the event have down an admirable job of putting together a roster of performers, a truly international line-up of talent from Australia, England, and the United States as well as regional performers from Samoa and New Zealand.
You'll find a wide range of blues, jazz, and soul in the spotlight at the Samoa 2010 International Jazz & Blues Festival, including Australian blues guitarist Ian Moss, a talented musician and performer with better than a half-dozen albums to his credit. British blues guitarist Tony Painting is also on the bill, along with American blues singer Diana Harris, New Zealand's Billy TK Jnr, R&B outfit Brilleaux, and popular local artists like the Flaming Mudcats, the DeSotos, and Carolina Moon, among many others.
Festival performances will take place in a number of venues around the island, including the Sinalei Reef Resort
, the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel
, and the Hotel Millenia Samoa
, among others. Ticket prices for the three-day party seem reasonable enough, around $95 depending on the currency conversion rate but, of course, you have to travel to Samoa to catch the performances. Still, if you're in the area or have the cash to pay the freight, check out the Samoa 2010 International Jazz & Blues Festival
website for ticket availability and other info.
Source: Keith's Blues Blog
21 October, 2010 permalink
By Dave Richardson
Author Robert Louis Stevenson fell in love with Samoa more than 100 years ago. Dave Richardson discovers what the 10 remote islands offer visitors today
It may only be a four-hour flight from Auckland to Samoa, but crossing the International Date Line means visitors can be rather confused on arrival. I leave on Friday and arrive on Thursday, but soon forget about that as I delve into Robert Louis Stevenson’s South Sea Tales. He was fascinated by Samoa and is buried here. How much of the magic remains?
I soon realise Samoa is unlike any other country I have visited. On the 20-mile drive from the airport to the small capital, Apia, there are no dual carriageways, no traffic lights, no neon signs. But the villages are busy, even late at night. People are crowded into large fales – traditional houses without walls and with roofs held up by poles. I think they must be having some sort of meeting, but they are in fact watching rugby on TV. A few days later, this nation of 200,000 people beats Australia in the final of the Sevens World Series.
I ask my guide why some people sleep outside their fales, on beds decked out with flowers. She explained patiently that they are not beds but graves – Samoans are buried in the heart of their communities. I visit a village on Savaii, the larger but less populated of the two main islands, where the men tend plantations of coconuts, bananas and root vegetables while the women look after children. Extended families gather to cook on hot stones covered by earth. One man shows me his bed – a mattress covered with a mosquito net – and his “shower” – a hose pipe hanging from a tree. It’s baffling that his cousin is Everton footballer Tim Cahill, an Australian whose mother emigrated from this village. Does he envy Tim? “Not at all,” he says.
Christianity is central to the Samoan way of life, so they usually ask visitors which church they belong to. Since the first missionaries arrived in the 1830s, every denomination has set up here, and imposing churches tower over the fales. Watching everyone go to worship in their Sunday best is a treat. But few visitors come because of Samoa’s culture. Most are from New Zealand, and the main appeal is sun, beaches, watersports and nature. There are blowholes on the coast of Savaii and waterfalls on both main islands, but the mountainous interiors are accessible only to trekkers.
Upolu, the most populated island and entry point, has the best beaches along its south coast. The area was devastated by a tsunami in September 2009, but most resorts reopened within a few months. Savaii, reached by a 90-minute ferry crossing, has one main road around its perimeter and no sizeable towns. It’s a true tropical getaway with small-scale resorts, kids, cats, pigs and chickens running about. Samoa’s location against the International Date Line means Cape Mulinuu on Savaii’s western tip is the last place on earth where the sun sets each day. It’s a place of legend, and many Samoans will not come here after dark because of spirits. Twice a year, demons are said to emerge from the sea and walk up a hill as all the dogs start barking.
No doubt the missionaries tried to drive out these superstitions, as did the German colonialists who briefly ruled Samoa, but one European settler defended their culture and they loved him for it. They called Robert Louis Stevenson “Tusitala” (Teller of Tales). His mansion at Vailima, near Apia, is now a museum and the only major attraction around the capital. He wrote several books there from 1890 until his death in 1894. In a Stevenson story called The Ebb-Tide, a character called Attwater is asked why he came to the South Seas. He replies: “Youth, curiosity, romance, love of the sea and an interest in missions.” It may be one of the remotest places on earth, but these are still good reasons to visit Samoa in the 21st century.
The Samoa Tourism Authority
lists nine UK operators to the islands, but some are direct-sell only. Samoa is usually part of a tailor-made holiday with Fiji, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, New Zealand or Australia.
Go coco-nuts: Agent-friendly Transpacific offers a 12-night holiday-only to Samoa, with seven nights at Coconuts Beach Club on Upolu followed by five nights at Le Lagoto Resort on Savaii, from £2,439.www.transpacificholidays.co.uk
Tailor-made: A typical tailor-made tour by Jetset includes three nights in Los Angeles, four nights at Aggie Grey’s Hotel in Samoa, three nights in Auckland and four nights in Hong Kong from £1,989, all on Air New Zealand flights.www.jetset-holidays.co.uk
Air New Zealand: This airline is the main carrier with weekly direct flights from Los Angeles to Apia (10 hours and 15 minutes), connecting with Heathrow departures on Tuesdays. Fares start at £1,018 return. It also offers daily flights from Auckland (four hours), from £264 return.
Air Pacific: Operates flights from Fiji (including connections from Hong Kong), and a weekly direct flight from Honolulu.www.airpacific.com
Polynesian Blue: Flies from Sydney (six hours and 30 minutes) and Auckland. www.polynesianblue.com
Samoa has about a dozen hotels of international standard and lots of wooden fale resorts on stilts, without private bathrooms, where you sleep on a mattress. Luxury fale accommodation is available at some resorts.
Family-run: Le Manumea on the outskirts of Apia is typical of Samoa’s small, family-run resort hotels, with 12 rooms and bathrooms open to the stars.www.manumearesort.com
Boutique: Le Lagoto is Savaii’s top boutique property, with its own beach and a choice of apartments or fale-style accommodation.www.lelagoto.ws
Source: TTG Live
04 October, 2010 permalink
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01 October, 2010 permalink