Sheraton Samoa monitors measles developments closely
It is too early to tell how the measles epidemic and the impact of the cancellations of numerous public events will have on the economy.
But with the nation shutting down as the Government moves to contain the spread of what has already become a deadly disease, the tourism industry is looking at perhaps one their quieter low seasons.
This comes at a time when tourism had been the engine of the nation's resurgent economic growth. Figures released this week showed a quarterly increase of 15 per cent in tourism numbers and an 18 per cent in the amount of money they spent; the Samoa Tourism Authority even declared the traditional high season had continued past its traditional end-date of October.
But at the Sheraton Samoa, Cluster General Manager, Brian Nathan, said they are following the developments very closely.
“It is too early to gauge what impact the latest developments have had, however we are now tracking all postponements and cancellations, as and when they occur,” Mr. Nathan said in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
He noted that the disruption to their business has been minimal. Where events booked with the hotel have been disrupted, the General Manager said they are not outright cancellations.
"To date this has been minimal and most have postponed to future dates.
“It is hard to compare accurately business with or without the impact of the measles outbreak as this is now going into the ‘wet season’ which is always traditionally quieter in hospitality anyway.
“Our most recent business on the books trends, continue to be positive to business on the books for the same time last year and this has been the case for the last six months with visitor numbers up.”
Mr. Nathan added that their priority is the safety and convenience of their guests.
“The Hotel does have positive bookings for functions and events over the next few months and we will monitor to ensure the ongoing safety of both our Associates and our Guests,” he said.
“Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel & Bungalows and Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort are both monitoring very closely any adverse effect that the current Measles outbreak may cause business levels.”
Attempts to get a comment from the Samoa Hotels Association about the wider implication of the measles outbreak on its members have not been successful.
Friday marks one week since the Government declared a state of emergency over the outbreak, which has already claimed 17 lives, mostly children.