Lift the ban on Sunday ferry service: Hotel Association

Samoa Hotel Association [S.H.A.] has appealed to the Government to lift the ban on ferries travelling to Savai’i on Sundays.

S.H.A. President Tupa'i Saleimoa Vaai told the Samoa Observer in an interview that the industry is urging the Government to lift the ban on the inter-island ferry service on Sundays.

“From the Industry’s point of view, as soon as the pandemic ruined our plans to focus on domestic market, the industry responded well in terms of making available on those prices,” he said. “But of course we’re just looking at of course hotels in Savai’i, which are mostly impacted at the moment because of the ferries, so we humbly urge the Government to see whether we can have at least one ferry for Savai’i to ensure that our people can travel.

Hotels in Savai’i, according to the S.H.A. President, have dropped their rates in order to capitalise on the domestic tourism market. But catching a ferry back to Upolu on Sunday is currently an issue, as the Government has banned ferry services on Sundays.

“The prices in Savai’i have also hugely reduced so it’s very cheap these days in Savai’i, but a lot of people can’t go over there because they have to catch the ferry back on Sunday,” he added. “But that is the only other issue we would only like to see and we urge the Government to see if they can look at relaxing at least one ferry, so that it will entice more of our people to also visit Savai’i.

Tupa'i further reiterated the ferry ban on Sundays is having a negative impact on the tourism industry on the big island. 

“Savai’i is mostly impacted at the moment because of the ferry ban and we humbly urge the government whether we can at least have one ferry for Savai’i to ensure that our people, a lot of our people, the prices in Savai’i have also dropped extremely.”

The state of emergency [S.O.E.] is also having repercussions on the tourism sector, added the S.H.A. President. 

“It’s impacted a lot of employment in terms of people working as a lot of the hotels in Savaii are mostly closed,” he added. “There’s a few that are getting a few businesses during the week from the Government but our biggest in terms of trading, we’re looking at weekend trading and without that ferry on Sunday, it’s quite impacted."

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