Photo: The newly elected S.S.T.A. Executive Committee 2018. L-R: General Exec Member Asiata Courtney Stevenson, General Exec Member Sara Endemann, President Vaaelua Faapoipoi Gidlow, Vice President Tupa'i Saleimoa Vaai, General Exec member Olaf Weinhold, Secretary Elisabeth Siaosi, Treasurer Ietitaia Sanerivi.
Va’aelua Faapoipoi Gidlow is the new President of the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association (S.S.T.A.).
His appointment follows the association’s annual general meeting (A.G.M.) held at Stevensons at Manase last weekend.
Va’aelua, of the Savaiian Hotel, said the Association will continue to build on the successes and the objectives from the previous executive board.
“It’s quite new to me still, so I’m still trying to find my way around this new role,” he told the Samoa Observer. “We’ve got the Miss Samoa coming up so that is our main focus at this time. We will be meeting in a day or two to finalise what our association plan is and how we can assist S.T.A. in facilitating the event.
“We do what we can and we have achieved some of our objectives that we aimed for, especially with improving the services of Samoa Shipping that S.S.T.A. committee worked really hard for, with ticketing and the services between Savaii and Upolu, we did a good job in lobbying for that, there’s still a long way to go.”
Va’aelua said there are ongoing challenges that the association faces but their ability to persevere comes from a unifying goal that they are all passionate about.
“We’re still trying to build our association and it’s not easy when you haven’t got the funding to help us along - that’s one of our biggest challenges and it can discourage people from taking the initiative to do things but slowly we are building our numbers.
“Our strength to continue is due to the dedication of our members to the same cause, which is to build Savaii. We want to build our businesses up and one of the major things that we have here with our association is ‘lotogatasi’, we work very well together which makes things easier.”
Va’aelua also acknowledged the hard work of outgoing executive members and thanked them for their eight-year service to the big island.
“We also take this opportunity to thank our outgoing Executive Members who have been serving on the Committee since the foundation of the Association in 2010. Thank you for your commitment and distinguished work.”
The newly elected executive committee are:
• President – Vaaelua Faapoipoi Gidlow, The Savaiian Hotel
• Vice President – Tupa’i Saleimoa Vaai, Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge
• Treasurer – Ietitaia Sanerivi, Tailua Beach Fales
• Secretary – Elisabeth Siaosi, Amoa Resort
• General Exec. Member – Olaf Weinhold, Dive Savaii
• General Exec. Member – Sara Endemann, Le Lagoto Resort & Spa
• General Exec. Member – Asiata Courtney Stevenson, Stevensons at Manase
Outgoing executive members:
• Mapusua Sesilia Schwalger, Former SSTA President & Director of Bayview Resort
• Dr. Nola Gidlow, Former Treasurer & Director of The Savaiian Hotel
• Keith Martin, Former General Executive & Director of Aganoa Lodge Samoa.