Lalotalie E.C.A.T Ventures promotes ecotourism.

An ecotourism venture has got its eyes fixed on the domestic tourism market and hopes other villages can capitalise on their natural resources and open them to paying visitors.

The Manager of Lalotalie E.C.A.T. [Eco-Cultural Adventure Tourism] Ventures, Tuiafutea Orisene Va'afusuaga, told the Samoa Observer that they are currently targeting the domestic tourism market and hope to convince other villages to take a similar path and market their natural attractions in order to earn an income.

"Now with the lockdown we wanted to send out the message to our people to try out these hikes and all that and I know it is a bit adventurous," he said in a telephone interview. 

According to Tuiafutea, the idea behind the creation of Lalotalie E.C.A.T Ventures started in the early 1990's and the name "Lalotalie" is the name of their land in their village. 

"It's the name of the land, it's my father's village. I was born and raised in New Zealand but came here when I was young then I fell in love with the place," he added. "Dad's village has always been dear to our hearts, my brothers and sisters so we wanted to give back to the community when we grew up. I came back and I started it up with some of the family members."

As for the acronym ECAT, he said it was created as it combines village and environmental-based tourism. 

"We are building up something connected to the village, we wanna bless the village through what we have," he reiterated. "We are in that model of eco-tourism and conservation side of things and we are creating pathways for the youth and also the employment and entrepreneur skills for the young ones."

He indicated that over the years international tourists took part in Lalotalie E.C.A.T Venture's waterfall and coastal hikes, saying most of them were people who enjoyed hiking and others were visitors who wanted to try something different and adventurous.

Other villages should start considering ecotourism, emphasised Tuiafutea and take note of their natural resources such as beaches, mountains and the sea that is within their vicinity. 

Tuiafutea said he recently visited the village of Vaovai Falealili as he wanted to share their story with Vaovai as well as assist them in their conservation and ecotourism activities.

"They can receive income from the environment and take care of it," he added,

According to Tuiafutea, Falease'ela offers waterfall hikes, coastal hikes, caves and bird watching as the Manumea was recently seen in the area.

School tours by Australian and New Zealand students is also an area that he would like to explore and show them the culture, village, church and the youth.

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