Need to find balance in advertising, commercialising and keeping it real

By Anina Kazaz ,

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Travis Moratu with his son and Renee Tetley with her daughter are enjoying the view from the Taumeasina Island Resort.

Travis Moratu with his son and Renee Tetley with her daughter are enjoying the view from the Taumeasina Island Resort. (Photo: Anina Kazaz)

Samoa has a lot to offer the tourism industry. 

So says Travis Moratu and Renee Tetley from Melbourne, Australia. 

They are in Samoa to attend a friend’s wedding and to them the opportunities for Samoa to become a recognized international tourism destination is not fully utilised yet.

The wedding will be held at the Taumeasina Island Resort today, where the two families are staying.

Travis arrived last Friday night with his family and Renee on Sunday morning.

This is their first time to Samoa. 

“I haven’t seen too much because I have a baby travelling with me here, which is why I did not do a lot or have been around the island.       

“In terms of resorts, I definitely see a difference between Samoa and Fiji. In Fiji they had kids clubs and activities going all day for kids,” she explained to the Dear Tourist team.

Renee brought her one-year-old daughter with her. 

“Right now with her I don’t miss it so much, but I think that would definitely be a big thing to bring more young families over here, having someone to take care of the kids, showing them around, taking them for a beach walk or just doing some sports.

“Even having someone watching over the pool, I know it is totally the parents’ responsibility, but just having someone. I guess those are the big differences, but otherwise it is pretty much the same like in Fiji. The facilities are great here as well, very similar to Fiji,” she said.

For Travis, he would choose Samoa out of all the countries for a holiday, wedding or for any other getaway activity.

“Vanuatu and Fiji are much marketed in Australia and Samoa is not. I did not know too much about it, I heard about Samoa obviously through rugby; where they are very competitive with Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, but apart from that, I did not really hear a lot of Samoa.

“We don’t get much news on Samoa back in Australia, probably through rugby only. 

“It has been very eye-opening for me to see what it is like and try imagining what it is going to be like, culture wise, it is obviously very different,” Travis said.

Through his wife, who is a good friend of the bride, Travis was familiar with the Samoan culture.

“I guess you could say that it is still untouched here in terms of tourism, they probably don’t have that type of tourism volume that you have in Fiji, Vanuatu. To see the culture they live, it has been really good, even on a very small amount, it is very interesting,” he shared.

Asked whether Samoa has to develop its tourism Travis responded: “It is a bit a yes and no, because you want to keep that individuality.”

“It is kind of like Fiji, I guess Fiji they have a lot of resorts like this and outside the resort you find villages and stuff, so you have both.

“I think it is about the market to bring Samoa to Australia, like offering some deals and offering the value for money because actually I think this is overpriced to me. I have been around the world and got more for less money,” Renee said.

“I guess this is probably because there is no competition. You get more people, you get more competition, but then you also don’t want to be too big in tourism,” Travis added.

Both of them are leaving on Sunday and returning is an absolute option for them.

“I would like to go to the surfing site. I heard there are some nice resorts there,” Travis said.

“I think if I come back, I want my kids to be a bit older, I think it is hard for kids this age. Once they walk and talk I would come back,” Renee said.

“For us, we did not have a big problem, they are five months and almost two and a half years old, so at the age of one, it is a bit harder here. Between three and eight years old I guess that would be a good age to come,” Travis added.

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