Zero visitors a historic first
The month of April 2020 is the first time in national history that Samoa has not registered any departing or arriving international visitors, Central Bank figures show.
According to the Bank’s report, released on Friday, Samoa’s international borders have been closed indefinitely with the priority now given first to the repatriation of Samoan residents.
Borders were closed in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
As a result April 2020 was the first time in history that Samoa had neither any visitors nor any visitors’ earnings, per Friday’s “Visitor earnings and remittances report April 2020”.
But the first ten months of the 2019-20 Financial Year were the same as the corresponding period for the previous year when measured according to total visitor arrivals and earnings.
A separate report, “International Arrival & Departure Statistics”, found that the measles epidemic and coronavirus, combined to severely decrease the amount of visitor arrivals during the first quarter of 2020.
The findings revealed that total international arrival statistics decreased by 74.4 per cent between October to December 2019 compared to the previous quarter and 41.2 per cent against the year prior.
Air travel remained the preferred mode of travel to Samoa, representing 96.1 per cent or 34,548 of total arrivals; those who arrived by sea accounted for the remaining 3.9 per cent or 1,415.
The total visitors of 21,673 for the first quarter of 2020 revealed a decrease of 104.8 per cent over the previous quarter and a decrease of 56.7 per cent when compared to the corresponding quarter of 2019.
The massive decreases were caused by the Government’s state of emergency restrictions due to the coronavirus and a restriction in air travel since March.
Visitors, including those in transit, made up the largest component of all arrivals to Samoa and constituted 30.3 per cent or 10,900 arrivals for males and 27.3 per cent or 9,803 for females.
Male returning residents made up 20.5 per cent of total arrivals or 7,366, while female arrivals accounted for 19.3 per cent or 6,924 of total arrivals. Temporary residents made up 1.4 per cent of all arrivals.
The majority of inbound travellers to Samoa during the reference period were aged between 20 to 64.
New Zealand remained the leading country by visitors’ country of usual residence accounting for 42.4 per cent or 9,194 of total visitors.
Australia followed next with a 25.9 per cent share of total visitors or 5,613 people. America recorded a share of 6.4 per cent or 1,394 followed by American Samoa with a share of 6.0 per cent or 1,293.
Europe reported the least share with 3.2 percent.
Visitors that entered Samoa’s shores to visit friends and relatives accounted for 40.0 per cent of all inbound passengers.
Those who came to visit for holidays or vacation accounted for 33.3 per cent of arrivals while others accounted for a little over 16 per cent.
Business and conference visits accounted for 6.2 per cent of visits while passengers in transit bound for other destinations or sports were recorded to make up 3.7 and 0.6 per cent of arrival numbers respectively.
The total International departures recorded for the first quarter of 2020 represented a decrease of 36.9 per cent when compared to the final quarter of last year and a decline of 39.7 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2019.