Re: Olo on Virgin
Olo Fiti Vaai is correct, the government has turned a great opportunity for Samoan tourism into a stupid mess that is not maintaining the status quo, but is hurting an already depressed tourism sector.
When the news broke of the Samoa Airways planned services, there was no talk of them muscling in on existing services, in fact there were rumors that both Virgin and Air NZ wanted to increase flights into Samoa.
This along with the extra services from Fiji, meant that there could have been as many as 12 extra flights per week into Samoa, or potentially almost 2000 seats.
This is exactly what every tourism operator had been pleading for over the past few years.
The tourism sector in 2017 is not doing so well, with high airfares keeping tourists away and many properties hurting with high loan repayments for the empty rooms they were encouraged to build post Evan.
Interesting that there were no figures reported since April, one can only assume that the news is bad and better not exposed.
Samoa needs more flights in to help drive down the fares and provide opportunities for tourists to consider Samoa as an alternate destination in a market saturated with South East Asia and other Pacific Island destinations.
It may be too late to reverse the pain those 6000 ticket holders have been put through, who are probably 80% Samoans returning to see family, but something has to be done immediately to open up the routes to Samoa or 2018 will continue to see the tourism sector slide.