Tourism operator positive in times of gloom

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 06 May 2020, 9:00AM

Despite not having any guests given the fact Samoa's borders are still closed, the Owner of Jane's Beach Fales at Manase Savaii, Sufia Penina Schmidt, remains positive.

Speaking during an interview with the Samoa Observer, she admits that it has been hard not only for her business but for the tourism industry as a whole. 

But she says she finds solace in the thought that "no storm lasts forever." 

"It's been hard; business-wise, we have been struggling," she said. "Starting from the measles epidemic, up to Christmas and the festive seasons. 

"We were just slowly getting back on track with business with so many bookings at the beginning of the year, then the Corona-virus happened."

Mrs. Schmidt said they have had a lot of cancelations since the beginning of the year. 

"All the bookings that were done up to June are all canceled," she said. 

"We had to let go of some of our workers because there were no guests and we were not generating income."

She went on to say that, they were not the only ones affected as a result of Covid-19. 

"We have farmers who sell us their produce to earn income and women who had small businesses who depended on tourists and the visitors to sell their products to. 

"My husband and I also have buses that are used by people living here at Itu-o-Tane district, that was affected when the lockdown was extended and we were in a bad situation."

However, Mrs. Schmidt said, they did not dwell on what they lost. She said they looked on the bright side of things and it kept them going. 

"In my opinion, it was okay that we did not generate income from our businesses. What mattered most was that we (Samoa) is safe and free from the harshness of corona-virus. 

"We understood that the measures in place were for the betterment of our country and supported it.

"When the right time comes and this thing (corona-virus) fades away, we will slowly but surely get back to business. 

"But right now, we are happy that we are corona-virus free and we should still lock our borders."

Moreover, Mrs. Schmidt said the lockdown has reminded them of how vital it is to work the land. 

"We appreciate the fact that we live in a country with resources available to get food. We went back to our plantation and the sea and it has been great for us in Savaii. 

"For us here in Manase, we are like one big family. The population of people living in Manase is less than a hundred so we care for each other and look out for one another. 

"During the lockdown, we saw how people did not suffer because they had food to eat and water to drink. It's okay that we didn't earn that much, a cup of kokosamoa and boiled taro was enough for dinner. 

"It was how our parents survived and it was nice seeing that come alive again during the lockdown. 

"Children enjoyed eating pawpaw, banana, and coconut, just like the good old days."


By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 06 May 2020, 9:00AM

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