The Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A.) has appealed to the Samoa Tourism Authority and the Government to put up bilingual safety signs at the To Sua Trench.
A New Zealand Navy sailor went missing at the popular tourist attraction in May this year and a Chinese tourist disappeared last month with the pair new presumed dead after authorities called off the searches.
The F.E.S.A. Assistant Commissioner, Tanuvasa Petone Mauga, told the Samoa Observer that bilingual safety sign posts should be placed in prominent areas within the vicinity of To Sua Trench following the disappearance of the Chinese national.
“After the New Zealand soldier disappeared, a huge warning sign was posted at this popular attraction. There is a big warning sign at the place. However, when the second incident with the Chinese man, I guess it is the language barrier."
“The warning is available in Samoan and English only. When we look at it with the large numbers of Chinese and other non-English speakers visiting Samoa, it is appropriate to include their languages as well to keep them safe. People need to be well informed especially when they do not speak English or Samoan,” he said.
Tanuvasa said the disappearance of the Chinese national last month highlighted the need for safety signs in other languages other than English and Samoan, especially to cater for the increasing number of international tourists.
“If we look around, Chinese numbers have increased tremendously. Not only Chinese but other people from other countries that do not speak English. So it is a good idea to consider including other languages to benefit our tourists.”
The growing popularity of Samoa as a tourist destination has also led to an increase in visitor numbers, and subsequently more tours of scenic spots around Samoa.
The F.E.S.A. will release a report next month, which Tanuvasa says will show a significant increase in accidents at scenic spots.
“In our report that comes out in September, I can confirm that the number of incidents has dramatically increased recently in this area not only with To Sua but with other scenic points of interests around Samoa. This includes waterfalls in the nation."
“As we are continuing awareness programs with the government departments to better assist with what is best for the safety of the nation, it is also our responsibility to make sure our staff is well equipped with their work to better assist with any kind of incident that involves locals and tourists,” he added.
Last week the F.E.S.A. responded to an incident at the To Sua Trench where a tourist was badly injured after she tried to jump into the water.
Urging people to be cautious, Tanuvasa said: “People can get into trouble when they are not careful enough to adhere to the notices included with the sign posts. It is important to read and be mindful and not become too excited about these places as it may lead to serious consequences and worst case scenario, lost of lives.”
Attempts to get comments from the Samoa Tourism Promotion Authority were unsuccessful.