Using the available resources to develop a country is nothing to be afraid of.
Meet Evgeni and Katia Bachara who shared this statement with the Dear Tourist team.
They are originally from Russia but have been living in Auckland, New Zealand for 18 years.
The couple came to Samoa with their two sons (8 and 10 years old) to escape the cold weather and the busy work back home and also celebrate Evgeni’s birthday.
“We are here for a holiday. It is very cold in New Zealand at the moment, it is not as cold as in Russia, but still it is about 11 degrees,” Evgeni said.
They are first-timers to Samoa, but they have been to Fiji and Rarotonga a few times before and know this part of the world well.
“We usually come in June to the islands for a holiday. We have been to Fiji three times and to Rarotonga five times. We just wanted to try something different this time, so we came to Samoa,” Evgeni explained.
“I am enjoying the island holiday, no shopping, not a lot of places to go but just relaxing. It is really nice for relaxing. I have a very intensive work, long shifts and working on weekends or public holidays, when I come here, I really enjoy just relaxing and spending time with my family.”
Because of his regular visits to the islands in the region, Evgeni shared some differences between the locations he’s been to.
“I don’t think Samoa is really promoted and developed in terms of tourism. Like Fiji for example, it is all set up for tourists, while in Samoa there is not a lot.
“I think there is a big opportunity for development in tourism, at the moment there is not much. You have got snorkelling, good weather and there should be more activities or offers to use those things. In Fiji for example, there is always something going on at the resorts, a lot of movement and music,” he said.
“It is an amazing spot, but underdeveloped. I don’t think Samoa would lose anything with more development, in Fiji it is the same, it is really touristy but their culture is still there.
“It is same like us, we live in New Zealand, but we are Russians, we are going to stay Russians forever, no one is ever going to take it from us. Even now, they were born in New Zealand our kids speak Russian. I don’t think that should be a problem.
Compared to Rarotonga, for example, the food offers could be improved in Samoa.
“Rarotonga is quieter, but there are a lot of restaurants. They have for example barbeque in the shade at the street, nothing specific, but just fresh food, the octopus, that was swimming next to it. All these fresh things they make the difference. To have more offers,” he said.
“We tried the barbeque here on the street, but we came to places where it did not look safe for the food. We are sensitive with food, so we don’t like to take takeaway stuff,” Katia added.
In terms of food, Evgeni hasn’t had a good experience so far.
“It has been very challenging to find a place for dinner last night. We did not want to stay in the resort and see something else. We followed the TripAdvisor, but the place hasn’t been really nice. Maybe our family is a bit health-orientated and deep fried food is not good for us.
“I don’t care if it is expensive as long as the food is good. But it is very hard to find something here. We have been driving two hours in Apia to find something for lunch as well,” he said
“I think it is necessary to change that because there are no restaurants and no bars, it is something that people in New Zealand love to do, but there is not a lot to choose from.”