Brickbats and bouquets for tourism
Re: Samoa tourism’s biggest problem
One problem that holds back tourism is when a few people try to scam tourists, and do not think about their actions in terms of how it affects tourism dollars in the future.
We booked a rental car with a local company, the car's battery cables kept popping off.
Rain or shine we would have to get out and pound down the battery cables to get going again.
Then the fuel line had a leak and the car stopped.
Then they offered another car but showed up with a standard truck and said we should be grateful because it was their last vehicle.
Then the truck had no A/C and no space for our children to put their feet what with the luggage and mealofa packages we were bringing over to Savai'i for family.
Then they said to take a taxi after the car broke down, that they would reimburse us, which they didn't.
The topper was when the rental guy asked us to hand-carry packages of what he called ava, but who knows what was in them. When we said no thanks, he left without completing something.
We had just given him extra tala to do (carry something to the counter).
Since we (our parents) are local, we try to give our money to a local rental company, but the results were not worth it. The guy knew we were local, and still had the nerve to act in this way. Luckily he was only one guy, and everyone else we met this trip and back in April were great.
If each person realises that their behaviour affects the feelings tourists have, and that affects the economy, they would hold themselves to a higher standard. The highlights were the guys from Fiji Air at the airport, and the kind service at the hotels La Uaina, Le Lagoto, Amoa, and Coconuts.
And the kind guy at the blowholes on Savaii.
The real winners were the kind school children, and locals in church who welcomed us warmly, and the LDS missionaries along the way. Really, everyone else was great.
We will be back as we have family there, but not everyone goes back after such experiences from that rental car company!