Agritourism park under construction
Work on Samoa's first agritourism park has begun.
The project, which has been in the pipeline since 2016, will be built on 20 acres of land at Atele.
Preliminary work began after the passage of the Government’s supplementary budget late last year.
The Samoa Tourism Authority’s (S.T.A.) Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.), Fa'amatuainu Suifua Lenata'i, said the finished park is expected to be similar to the Hamilton Parks in Waikato, New Zealand.
"This will be one area where all of Samoa's native plants can be found like, medicinal plants, cocoa trees, lau u'a trees and flower gardens," he said.
The project will support the Authority's marketing of Samoa as a destination. The park will be a product to market to overseas visitors in addition to attraction sites and hotels.
Fa'amatuainu said that the agritourism park is just one of four components of a major agritourism development effort in Samoa.
The Government's recent supplementary budget included an allocation of $250,000 for the project, which has been used to fund the initial work. Additional funding from the European Union (E.U.) continues to be sought.
"It's one area that has everything, and it's the kind of area that can be used when cruise ships come in and there is not enough time for them to explore," Faamatuainu said.
"All the Government is doing [for the park], is to clear out a road, lay the terraces and water and then give it out to the private sector."
He added that there are now some from the private sector who are on-board with the project.
According to a 40-page proposal for funding provided to the E.U., the project’s estimated budget over three years will be €405,000 (T$1,171,931.97).
The park aims to showcase the beauty, biodiversity, iconic geographical landscapes, traditional and medicinal plants of Samoa and develop new tourism routes based on agriculture (e.g. the kava, coconut or cocoa routes).
In 2018, the C.E.O. of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries explained that the Agritourism Park aims to offer research and education services on Samoan traditional knowledge; provide a venue for social and cultural activities including concerts and performances and agricultural or processing demonstrations. These plans include displays of how food and beverages are made, culinary experiences in dedicated restaurants, and proposed tours to Samoa linking the park and the plantations and farms for various tourism experiences.
Another three active proposals to support agritourism development in Samoa include the development of food tourism development (for which $3,603,000 has been budgeted), promoting wellness and spa tourism development $1,823,500) and designing and developing agritourism systems ($3,285,000).