The three-day Samoa Tourism Exchange (S.T.E.) came to a close last night with positive feedback from sellers and buyers during the meeting at T.A.T.T.E.
According to Managing Director of Samoa Sunsation, Mosie Su’a, having an increase of buyers at this year’s S.T.E. wasn’t the only boost for Samoa’s Tourism Industry; it was also the quality of buyers that made it a more successful meet.
“This year, the quality of buyers is very high, it’s good to see,” said Mosie.
“The participation from the United States has also been very good especially from North America. So the quality and the calibre of this year’s S.T.E. has been outstanding. Last year, there were a lot of repeats from the same buyers from the same places but this year, I like the quality of them.”
Mosie sees a lot of different opportunities to market his business at this year’s exchange with the variety of buyers from different countries.
“I’ve had good opportunities to network and promote my business to buyers from Japan, South Korea, the Chinese market, the Netherlands and Europe and of course New Zealand and Australia being our primary markets.
“I met a guy here from Japan. A couple of years ago, there wasn’t a lot of Japanese, but I have always felt there was a lot of potential in that market.”
From 1992 -2002, Mosie worked with the Samoa Tourism Authority before leaving to start his own Inbound Tours company and he pointed out that it was very encouraging to see the increasing interest in what Samoa has to offer as a holiday destination.
“I take my hat off to the S.T.A. I know that they are doing very well with the promotion of their marketing strategy but bear in mind, these were the strategies that were formulated five years ago.
“But now we have seen that with Samoa Airways, the interest has generated from outside buyers, especially from Australia and New Zealand. I am also seeing that there are so many more of our products that are available.”
For New Zealand buyers, Anna Smith from Student Travel Association and Adele Tara from Think Change Roar, the exposure to Samoa’s various products on offer have presented many opportunities to collaborate.
“It’s been a brilliant time for us, it’s our second year,” said Ms. Smith.
“We are the world’s largest student travel youth agency so there’s been some great product here that we’ve seen that really works well for our market. It’s my first time to the Pacific Islands and I think it’s absolutely beautiful and I think more people should travel here.
“This show has been fantastic, it’s showing every type of tourist opportunity in Samoa whether it’s for students, or young people or adults or older couples as well so it’s been really varied.”
Ms. Smith has identified where and what her clients will be looking for in a destination such as Samoa.
“I think for here, it’s a lot about the outdoor adventure, like paddle boarding, kayaking, and snorkeling with turtles, that kind of thing I think that will really appeal to the young adults.
“Traditionally, in New Zealand a lot of young people think that Samoa is more about family holiday environment when I think that Samoa is definitely perfect for young professionals and students that want a quick beach holiday.”
Samoan/Cook Islander/New Zealander, Adele Tara, runs a company that specialises in executive and wellness retreats. This is her first time to her ancestral homeland and she is excited to market Samoa to her core clients.
“For me as a daughter of Samoa, half Samoan and never been here before, grew up hearing stories from dad about the culture, the fa’asamoa way, what’s been really good for me is that it all makes a lot of sense now.
“Picking Samoa as a destination for retreats because of the family structure, the strong traditions here, that can be applied back to teaching leadership skills and things like that.
“It’s been really awesome and I’ve enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. Don’t tell my mum, she’s Cook Island, Tahitian but I actually love Samoa more than Rarotonga.”
The S.T.E. officially closed last night with a ceremony at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey's Beach Resort, Mulifanua.