The Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association (S.S.T.A) has voted to keep Tupa’i Sale’imoa Va’ai as their President.
The decision was made during the Association’s 7th Annual General Meeting last week at the Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge, Asau.
In addressing the association, President Tupa’i reported on the achievements and challenges of the past year.
“Without wishing to exaggerate, the past year undoubtedly has been both an active and challenging period yet again for the Executive Council and membership,” a statement from the Association said.
“One of the many challenges as alluded to by Tupa’i was the remoteness of Savai’i and thereby limited communications, exchanges and subsequently funding assistance for our Savaii members at times."
“The cost of and time taken in travelling to Upolu for such meetings are undoubtedly not a luxury and most of the time financed as in-kind by their own Executive Council."
“Nonetheless, as a non-profit, non-Governmental organisation the Executive Council still does their utmost to have their industry voice heard at the several committees and taskforces they have been privileged to represent Savaii on."
“Most of these committees see the close collaboration of Savaii tourism with their main partner organisation in Apia, the Samoa Hotel Association as well as improved alliance with the government body, the Samoa Tourism Authority."
“He further accentuated the hard struggling efforts of the Executive Council in bringing much needed funding support for its Savaii members.”
He also spoke about projects which provide assistance for the big Island. These include the Tourism Climate Change Project (T.C.C.P) which involves a small grants scheme for some attraction sites and beach fale operators with the purpose of increased adaptive capacity to climate change and disaster risks of tourism-reliant communities.
There is also the Samoa Tourism Growth Partnership (S.T.G.P) with a total approved NZ$7.3million which is still in its early planning phase has already perceived S.S.T.A as a key implementing agency for Savai’i whereby S.S.T.A will assist in implementing the upgrading key site attractions and associated signage to help improve the visitors experience.
Finally in the president’s annual report was the emphasis on the events, campaigns and fundraising activities fruitfully accomplished in the past year and those to be undertaken for the benefit of the association.
“The Miss Pacific Islands Event held in November 2016 saw the enormous support of members and local businesses, the successful Inaugural Fishing Tournament recently held in Asau beginning of May, the Savai’i Games initiated by Seti Afoa, the support of Samoa Observer through advertisement campaigns, S.S.T.A annual raffles and their environmental programme, Keep Savaii Clean campaign which involves clean-ups around the island and creating awareness of the environmental and social impacts of the malpractice of public littering.”
S.S.T.A was incorporated in 2010 and it is a non-Government membership organisation that strives to be the united voice of the hospitality and tourism industry on Savai’i.
The association’s financial statements for the 2016/2017 financial year presented by Treasurer Dr. Nola Gidlow and adopted.
She highlighted the importance of annual membership fees in order to keep the office and information center in permanent operation.
“Though the association has been fortunate to have received grants from S.T.A and M.C.I.L, these are insufficient to sustain the existence and success of the office both as a secretariat and as an information hub."
“Included in the AGM agenda were presentations by noteworthy companies: Digicel (represented by Asuao Dennis Williams and Toalepai Waikato Lefale) and EMD (Events, Marketing & Distribution, represented by Kevin Schuster). "
“The AGM which was attended by more than 30 members and guests concluded with a networking session over food and drinks and a raffle drawn with touchphones and phone credit prizes sponsored by Digicel Company."
“S.S.T.A would like to acknowledge with deep appreciation the sponsorships by Digicel Company and Salafai Metal Industries (SMI) for this year’s meeting.”