Travelinc Memo, 28 January
On the back of a 15% hike in tourism numbers last year aided by the July All Blacks test against Samoa in Apia, the country’s newest hotel has announced it’s taking former Kiwi rugby great Michael Jones under its wing as brand ambassador.
Laura Wadsworth, representing the $60 million Taumeasina Island Resort opening in Apia on 1 June, told a Samoan tourism industry luncheon this week that Jones, a village chief, was taking up the position on 1 February, happy at a chance to provide a boost for the country.
Meanwhile, Samoan Tourism Authority marketing and promotions manager Dwayne Bentley says the boutique 104-room resort was exactly the type of hotel the country had in mind as it moves towards becoming a premier-class destination.
This year’s opening of the four-star, around 170-room Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows and luxurious Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa were also steps in the right direction, he says.
A three-year upgrade of the main gateway, Faleolo International Airport, will also ‘take Samoa to the next level’ Bentley adds. The Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi is on board, launching the Samoa Tourism Excellence Awards, which take place in January next year.
While Bentley says Samoan tourism will be driven by targeting families and couples, events – such as Joseph Parker’s winning boxing match last week – were a huge part of its growth strategy.
Samoa last year drew 137,000 guests, and Bentley is confident the country will enjoy at least a minimum 5% growth this year. Kiwis – who represent 46% of the visitor numbers – would also be a target, and New Zealanders can expect to be hearing a lot more from the country this year, he says.
Attending the 30-strong function, Air New Zealand’s product and pricing specialist Hylda Bloomfield says the market continues to grow at a nice pace. ‘We are not seeing a decline after the All Black test. Samoa continues to get better and it continues to want to do better too, which helps us as an airline. It makes our work easier.’
Photo credit - Penina Momoisea
Travel Today, 28 January
It’s set to be a busy year for tourism in Samoa with new hotels and resorts opening, paired with plenty of events and attractions. Speaking at a lunch in Auckland yesterday for key trade partners, visiting Samoa Tourism Authority’s Dwayne Bentley said this year is going to be a ‘game changer’ for the country. An inclination, perhaps, was the ‘huge growth’ in the Kiwi market last year, and with more offerings this year, this is looking set to increase yet again. Bentley added that agents can expect to see him here in New Zealand more often, working closely with local rep Sonny Rivers, in a bid to further build relationships with the trade and in general, be more visible in the Kiwi market.
New for 2016 includes the much anticipated opening of Sheraton Samoa’s Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows which is marked for 15 Apr, adding 175 new rooms to the market. Sheraton Samoa’s Carl Amos said while there have been a few delays, after seeing the hotel last week, ‘it’s looking very much on track for that date’.
There’s also the Taumeasina Island Resort tipped to open 01 Jun. Situated on the north coast of Apia, the fourstar resort will offer a mix of hotel suites and private villa accommodation, conference and wedding facilities, watersports and more. Former All Black Michael Jones has signed on as brand ambassador, and the resort is set to crank up its promotions, as well as work closely with agents.
Meanwhile, the owners of Saletoga Sands are on track for a soft opening of sister property Saletoga Beach Hotel & Bungalows in Apr, advises Coconuts Travel Marketing. Once complete, clients will have the choice of staying in one of nine
beach bungalows, or in a two storey hotel room block.
Photo credit - Penina Momoisea15 January, 2016 permalink
Ethical Traveler is a non-profit organisation and a project of the Earth Island Institute which survey’s the world’s developing nations and assesses their performance in the areas of Social Welfare, Human Rights and Environmental Protection. Each year, Ethical Traveler releases a list of countries that excel in these areas in a bid to encourage travelers to visit destinations that contribute to a safer and more sustainable world. Ethical Traveler utilizes information provided by sources such as Freedom House, The Millennium Challenge Corporation, Reporters without Borders, UNICEF, the World Bank, Amnesty International and various LGBT sources.
In order to make this list, each country must also offer unspoiled natural beauty, great outdoor activities and the opportunity to interact with local people and cultures in a meaningful, mutually enriching way. Needless to say, Samoa fit the bill in every category.
Samoa received a perfect score from Freedom House in the areas of Social Welfare and Human Rights. Samoa issued a State of Human Rights report in 2015, the first of its kind in the country, which aims to increase measures already put in place to further protect women, children, people with disabilities and prisoners.
In another step to preserve and protect its natural resources and beauty, Samoa scored high in the Environmental Protection category with the country launching new solar plants in 2015, on its way to meeting its objective of plans to providing 100% sustainable energy by 2017.
“Climate change affects our islands dramatically and we feel the effects of that first, so we have an important role to play in educating the world on this front and to continue to lead by example, especially in sustainable tourism development” says Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi, Minister of Tourism.
“We have a unique culture found nowhere else in the world, the foundation of which is based on respect – for each other, for visitors and of course our surroundings. Visit Samoa and see for yourselves why it is so important for us to protect and preserve what we have – our culture, our people and our surroundings - to live as one with nature, sustainably and with respect so that future generations can enjoy the natural beauty we are blessed with.”
2016 is Visit Samoa year. For the latest events and deals visit www.samoa.travel.