The logistics of attracting European tourists precludes any acceptable R.O.I. on limited Samoan tourism marketing funds.
How can you ask someone to travel 20 plus hours just to get in the pacific region, only then to have to get another connection or two to get to Samoa?
Fiji, French Polynesia And South East Asia are currently getting most of these travellers because of colonial connections or through superior transport logistics.
Samoa needs to expand the low hanging fruit picking strategy that has been used to great effect to attract N.Z. tourists and get far more Australian tourists to visit Samoa.
Currently fewer true tourists come from Australia compared to N.Z., however with 5 times the population, or 4 times just on the east coast, there is great potential to yield solid incremental growth with a little effort.
That is good R.O.I. for the scarce Samoan international marketing funds.
Many of my Aussie friends are sick of going to Bali, Thailand and even Fiji, with those that have ventured here really enjoying the unique Samoan experience and most vowing to return in a couple of years. Had they not had a Samoan connection to come and visit, Samoa would have remained the best-kept secret it currently is on the Australian tourist destination radar.
If numbers from Australia were to double, it would still proportionally be half of N.Z., but this would represent maybe 20-25% growth in tourism for Samoa.
Such growth is possible with the current infrastructure and would go along way to raise the average occupancy from the current 40% to the targeted 60% by 2020.
Also consider that the inbound routes are already there and if successful would only need to be expanded rather than established, much cheaper and easier. With the imminent rising of the Polynesian Phoenix, such a strategy to target the Australian market would actually support efforts to build a sustainable national carrier.
Finally Australia has a higher per capita G.D.P. than N.Z., so it would be reasonable to assume that Aussies would spend more when holidaying here, another key goal of Samoan tourism.
To plagiarize a controversial but effective line from Australia’s tourism marketing o a few years ago... “Aussies, where the bloody hell are ya!”