Stakeholders from various tourism organisations in Samoa gathered at the Taumeasina Island Resort for the two-day Samoa Tourism Forum 2018 focusing on sustainable tourism.
The theme for this year’s symposium is “Enabling Smart Tourism” and it begins the celebration of the Samoa Tourism Year 2018 spearheaded by Government that guarantees a beautiful destination.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said Samoa’s tourism industry has positively benefited the country.
“Tourism’s positive impact on the economic and social development of our country is significant. It contributes 25 percent to gross domestic product (G.D.P.),” Tuilaepa said.
He explained: “Our total G.D.P. now is $2.1 billion tala per annum. The industry employs almost 15 percent of the population and an average of $400 million tala in tourism value per annum.”
Tuilaepa says sustainable tourism is essential for a country like Samoa because of the rich cultural values that lies deep within the heart of all Samoans. He says the forum is also a reminder that all must be sustainable and the product must be marketable and measurable.
On marketing products, Tuilaepa explains: “It must be recognized that the available technologies must be employed like TripAdvisor, social media and other online travel agencies.”
He also commended the local hotels for complying with the tourism standards and their resilience in times of natural disasters.
Tuilaepa adds Samoa Airways is a positive move for the tourism industry and it was a mistake to enter into an agreement with the Australian airline, saying such joint ventures must never be repeated.
He concluded saying it is Government’s aim that: “By 2019, Samoa will have a growing Tourism sector and become the leading tourism destination in the Pacific for sustainable tourism.”
The Forum ended yesterday.