An email obtained by the Samoa Observer, revealed that yet another temporary alcohol ban threatened the tourism industry this month.
In the email, Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, Hobart Va’ai said that after consultations with the Ministry of Revenue, an alcohol ban had been confirmed for the day of the census, Monday 7 November.
There was an immediate outcry from members of Chamber particularly those in the Tourism, Restaurant and Hospitality Sector because despite the fact that tourists are not subject to the census and hotel/restaurant owners are not subject to the census (in working hours), the ban was still set to withhold the sale of alcohol at tourist accommodations along with retail stores.
However prompt action by Chamber on behalf of their members saw a letter sent to the Secretary of the Liquor Board who immediately submitted their request to lift the ban on the tourism industry.
Mr. Va’ai told the Samoa Observer that yesterday, that after further deliberations, the Liquor Control Board made a u-turn on their original decision and moved to limit the Census alcohol ban.
A new notice from the Liquor Board now notifies business owners that the ban will only apply to nightclubs and bars on Monday 7 November from 6.00am to Tuesday 8 November 5.00am.
A similar case which could have also impacted on the tourism industry happened earlier this year when a blanket ban was advertised for the period during the General Elections.
In an interview with the president of the Samoa Hotel Association (S.H.A.), Adele Kruse at the time, she told the Samoa Observer how much a ban like this would affect the tourism industry.
“It’s not really the locals we are concerned about, but our guests. It will be very hard for us to deny them this service."
“From S.H.A.’s point of view this is not good for our industry to ban the sale of alcohol to our visitors. These are tourists who have planned for many years to have a beautiful vacation in the Pacific and their hard-earned money has been used to make it possible."
“When they come here they would like to enjoy the simple pleasures of life for example a glass of wine with their meals. People who have spent money to come to our beautiful shores who are then told they cannot have a glass of wine with a meal or even a glass of beer on a hot day would be surprised."
“Trust me, this would not be received well by them.”
Fortunately, the Liquor Board again saw the light and reversed the temporary ban so that it only applies to nightclubs and bars.