Tourism on Ardern’s agenda
Tourism was on the agenda when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was in the country at the beginning of the week.
In fact, she believes Samoa has the potential to keep up with the competitive international tourism markets.
Ms. Ardern confirmed discussions between the governments of N.Z. and Samoa to focus on ways to boost Samoa’s tourism industry.
“We discussed the potential for tourism increases and tourism to really boost Samoa’s gross domestic product,” she said.
“What we’d hope is that things like supporting the establishment of small and medium and micro size enterprises can also contribute to your tourism industry and ecosystem as well.”
Ms. Ardern was speaking during a press conference in Samoa earlier this week, where she also announced a NZ$6.5 million (T$12m) extra funding to boost employment and investment in small businesses in Samoa.
“So that investment of $6.5million I would hope that we will see a flowing effect by the number of businesses being set up to support your tourism economy as well,” Ms. Ardern said.
She highlighted N.Z’s commitment in Samoa’s education sector to build the local tourism workforce.
“Of course there are a number of areas where we’ve already worked together too and alongside in the education space to build your tourism workforce.
“But we are always looking for opportunities to support what is a growing venture and in that regard, I hope that New Zealanders in particular, continue to be a big part of your tourism here in Samoa because it so close to N.Z. and is such a wonderful destination as well.”
Samoa as a tourism destination is something she can vouch for.
“Oh well I have to tell you that I have been here obviously twice before now for holidays. So obviously I think it’s a wonderful destination.”
But she wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the best destination in the Pacific.
“You will probably know I have somewhat of torn alliances as well because I have been called a daughter of Niue,” she said.
“Please don’t take that personally. Anyways, you can be the daughter of many nations.”