Karen Lovich from Coromandel New Zealand would not have chosen Samoa as a first choice place to visit.
But thanks to a friend who encouraged her to come to Samoa, she will definitely not hesitate to hop on the plane to Apia next time.
“Right now it is a good time to come because home it is getting very cold,” Karen said.
So why was Samoa not her first choice destination?
“I guess it was because it has never been a big touristy spot. It is only recently there seems to be way more offers for the tourists.”
“You hear about Samoa quite a bit more now in New Zealand. There are good deals to come here.”
“But before, Samoa was not really advertised back home. On the TV advertising, which is huge, they always include Samoa next to Fiji and Rarotonga now as well.”
Tomorrow is Karen’s 59th birthday.
“Not a lot of people can say they celebrated their birthday in Samoa. We are going to see the Fa’afafine show in the evening here in the resort. It is a great place to be,” she said.
The Pacific is not new to her. She has been twice to Rarotonga.
“I could not see a lot of differences from Rarotonga to Samoa yet. Probably more and bigger churches here,” Karen said.
What she loves though is the atmosphere, ambience and the weather.
“It is the whole package, the atmosphere, the laid back attitude and everyone is so nice,” she shared. “So far the service and everything has been very good.”
Bank home in New Zealand, she is used to the island way of living. She has another connection to Samoa, due to her sister who lived here five years ago.
“Back in New Zealand the people are open to so many different and new things. I guess it is all about chasing more after money compared to here.”
“Back home I guess they tend to loose a bit of their original culture and the western took over more then here. Here it has not changed so much as in New Zealand. It seems to be more grounded. It is the pride and happiness I can see here with what they have.”
The women are leaving on Saturday. But not until then they explore what Samoa has to offer.
“We are going to have a look around, because I do not see a point in just staying in a resort. You can go in any resort anywhere. I do like to relax, but at a certain point I need to do something,” she said.
Karen and her friend found a balance between relaxing and exploring.
“I am excited to see more of this island. A friend of my sister will take us around, what is really cool for us. It is an advantage that the island is not too big, we for example want to see the most of it,” she said.
So far Karen could not see any necessary changes in the tourism industry in Samoa.
“I see it in a good way that the place is still natural and not overcomercialized. Keeping it real is very important. I think it helps when they keep having these good and cheap deals to come here, so everybody can afford it.”
“Everybody here is very helpful and I got enough information.”
Will she come back?
“Maybe for my 60th birthday next year?”