The Minister of Tourism, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, is optimistic that 2016 will be a bigger and better year for the tourism industry in Samoa.
He expressed his optimism during the launch of the Visit Samoa 2016 tourism campaign at Matautu on Thursday.
The gathering was well attended by members of the industry as well as key players including government representatives and members of the diplomatic core.
The government is calling on everyone to play their role in the development of the sector with Tuilaepa reiterating that tourism will become the mainstay of the economy. Key in the sector’s hopes this year is the reopening of the Aggie Grey’s Hotel in Apia.
The hotel has been closed since Cyclone Evan in 2012 but it is expected to reopen before the middle of the year.
The property will return as Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel. Another property that will open in 2016 is the Taumeasina Resort being built by the Lamana Group. The two properties will offer more quality rooms for visitors to Samoa, helping the tourism industry to achieve its goals.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister also announced the introduction of the “Tourism Excellence Award” for 2017.
The award will be to honour individuals, groups and companies who take the lead in beautifying Samoa. Tuilaepa said the award is an initiative to encourage local workers to take pride in what they do, especially in dealing with visitors.
Happy tourists return to their homes to spread the word about Samoa.
This encourages their families and friends to come to Samoa to see for themselves. Tuilaepa also acknowledged the hard work of members of the tourism industry. Here are some more photos from the gathering.