Aga Reef Resort recognised amid tourism pressures
Aga Reef Resort at Lalomanu has again been named the region's "best relaxation retreat" at a top global hotel awards, as the country looks to preserve tourism-led economic growth.
The hotel received top honours at the 9th annual 2019 Boutique Hotel Awards held at the Merchant Taylor's Hall in London, England last month. It marks the resort’s third consecutive win in the category, which covers hotels across Australasia.
The resort's Managing Director, Vaatuitui Apete Meredith, and Operations Manager, Edith Meredith, attended a gala dinner ceremony to accept the award.
"We are thrilled and proud for the Aga Reef Resort team to receive this award yet again,” said Vaatuitui.
But while the announcement of their achievement was welcome news to the resort's management and staff, Vaatuitui pointed out that it also came during a very sad time for Samoa amidst the measles epidemic.
“It goes without saying that during extreme hard times in our country, it’s vital we come together in cooperation to ensure the health and safety of our people which is exactly what happened," he said.
“Historically, the tourism sector has faced a wide range of threats and the measles epidemic proved just how vulnerable we are, particularly after just experiencing significant national economic growth in the last year - driven mainly by tourism.”
As the national state of emergency officially comes to an end today, Vaatuitui says it’s important to once again unite to protect the tourism market.
Figures recently released by the Samoa's Central Bank showed Samoa's nominal rate of Gross Domestic Product growth for the 2018-19 Financial Year had risen substantially to reach 5.7 per cent - growth led chiefly by tourism.
“We saw an outpouring of generous support for Samoa from around the world during the measles epidemic," he said.
“And in that same spirit we encourage international visitors to come back to our shores, help rebuild our sector and avoid an economic collapse that would again put immense pressure on our people.”
Vaatuitui added that their staff and management who are truly honoured:
“This recognition is a true testament to the inspiring and hardworking staff that works tirelessly to provide each guest with an authentic and enriching travel experience that is unique to Samoa.”
Looking ahead to 2020, Vaatuitui says that winning the award for Australasia’s best relaxation retreat hotel has given their staff another reason to feel proud and motivated, to outperform this year’s achievement, especially given they have faced one of the most challenging times in Samoa since the 2009 tsunami.
Aga Reef Resort was selected from over 300 nominees in over 80 countries and each entrant was nominated by a member of the Awards Nominations Committee, comprising 70 leading travel experts.