Cabinet appoints new Tourism Chief Executive Officer

The Samoa Tourism Authority (S.T.A.) has a new Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.).

He is Fa’amatuainu Lenatai Suifua, who was previously an Assistant Chief Executive Officer (A.C.E.O.) in the Authority.

Fa’amatuainu, who was the Manager of the Planning and Development Division, is set to replace long serving C.E.O., Papali’i Sonja Hunter, who chose not to reapply for the position. 

The appointment is confirmed in a Cabinet paper, FK(19) 03 dated 18th May 2019.

“During a special meeting on Saturday 18th May 2019, Cabinet discussed PK (19)764 and approved the appointment of Fa'amatuainu Lenata’i Sala Suifua as the Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Tourism Authority,” a translation of the FK reads.

The FK is signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Shem Leo. 

It was not possible to obtain a comment from Agafili or Faamatuainu at the time of going to press.

But the FK instructs the Ministry of Public Enterprises and the Samoa Tourism Authority to prepare Faamatuainu’s contract in accordance with Government procedures.

Agafili added that the decision was made as a matter of urgency in accordance with Section 38 of the Constitution of Samoa.

Fa’amatuainu was among applicants who made the shortlist. Most of them were Assistant Chief Executive Officers from the S.T.A, the Samoa Observer has been told.

At the beginning of the month, Papali’i confirmed her decision not to reapply for the country's top tourism job. 

Papali'i had been at the helm of the Authority for more than 10 years.

"My contract finishes on 7 June (2019) and I have decided not to reapply. I’m running the contract until it finishes and I’m obligated to do that," she said.

Papali'i had been involved in the tourism industry since her days with the Samoa Visitors Bureau from 1994.

Asked why she decided not to reapply for her position, Papali’i said there was no particular reason.

“Nothing really, if you look at our environment compared to ten years ago, it wasn’t as enabled and this is an enabled environment and Government has made it for us," she said.

“Everyone is saying I’m stepping down, no I’m stepping up."

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