Beautiful Samoa. We are delighted you could join us!

There is absolutely no doubt it. Samoa is the place to be this week.

It’s not only nice and warm if you are escaping from those countries where the temperature is freezing at this time of the year; we guarantee that the Teuila Festival will give you a taste of everything that is great about this slice of paradise we call home.

So talofa lava to all our visitors. We invite you to make yourselves at home, in our beautiful Samoa. Forget the shoes, lose the tie, find some jandals, slip on an elei shirt if you need it, and relax.

Don’t worry about the time, whatever it is, it can wait. You are in beautiful Samoa after all where island time is island time.

What we do want to say is that we are truly delighted that you could join us this week; it is special time as there is something for everyone.

Looking at the calendar of events, it’s not just the Teuila Festival that is happening. There are a number of international meetings taking place in Apia, bringing hundreds of visitors to our shores.

These include S.P.R.E.P’s Meeting of officials which is being attended by Ministers from different Pacific countries as well as the Pacific Islands Investment Forum being held at the T.A.T.T.E. Building.

But that’s not all. There are many other smaller meetings being held at other venues, which is a wonderful thing for Samoa.

The truth is that Samoa has made no secret about the fact we want this beautiful place to be the hub of everything in the Pacific, from international meetings, technology to being the number one tourism destination for anyone wanting to visit this part of the globe.

We accept that we still have a long way to go in terms of being the number one tourism destination but the Government cannot be faulted for continuing to promote the Teuila Festival as one of the events designed to achieve that goal and expose Samoa to the world.

It’s a wonderful occasion. It started on Sunday night with a thanksgiving service at the where some of the nation’s spiritual leaders committed the celebration to God in prayer. Why is this important? In Samoa, God comes first in everything. As an official Christian state, it’s critical that God’s blessings and covering is acknowledged in everything that we do.

Then the celebration started on Monday and there has been a lot to enjoy because this week is all about showcasing the best of Samoa for the world to see.

Our unique culture through dances and other aspects of it has been on display. Our traditional sports are promoted for visitors to enjoy. There is carving, umu making, tattooing and even more contemporary competitions like floral arrangement, cocktail competition and much, much more.

Looking around Apia today, the Teuila fever is definitely in the air.

Not to mention the grand finale which is the Bluesky Miss Samoa Pageant where the next face of Samoa will be chosen on Saturday night. Nine beautiful contestants are vying for the crown currently held by reigning Miss Samoa, Sonia Piva. It’s going to be a tough contest but whoever wins will go on to proudly represent Samoa at the Miss Pacific Islands, and become the face of this nation to the outside world. We wish the contestants all the best.

We also want to acknowledge the hardworking organisers of the Festival – including the Government and the Samoa Tourism Authority - for being able to keep the Teuila Festival exciting and relevant.

Suffice to say, there is so much to be patriotic about this week. We don’t celebrate ourselves enough, including our culture and what makes us unique as a nation and a people.

The Teuila provides that opportunity. And it is truly wonderful to see Samoans from all over the country – including many who are based overseas – come home for this annual celebration.

If there is one thing we could improve it is this; the Teuila Festival needs to bring back the fautasi race. This was the draw card that everyone looked forward to.

More importantly it is a big part of Samoan life, something we would love to share with visitors to our shores. Those races and the teams that take part have the power to bring together villages and communities like nothing else can. This is an aspect of being Samoan we should tell the world.

The bottom line is that we have a beautiful country with beautiful people. We have many attractions visitors will pay money to see. Let’s tell the world and invite them to come to Samoa.

Enjoy the Teuila festivities. And if you are a visitor, please share your wonderful memories with your friends, families and the world and tell them to come see it for themselves. God bless!

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