Discount on interisland ferry car prices
The Samoa Shipping Corporation and Samoa Tourism Authority have approved discounts on the car fees on the interisland ferry in a bid to increase domestic tourism while the borders are closed.
Customers with a booking confirmation in a hotel or beach fale in Savaii are eligible for the discount, and it is currently set to run until the end of October.
Savaii Samoa Tourism Association President Vaaelua Faapoipoituuloa Gidlow said he is happy with the sale but was surprised to learn it is limited to just three days a week.
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays until the end of October, vehicles cost $80 one way, down from $95 or $100 (for 12 to 15 foot cars, with smaller cars already at $80 per trip).
“Whatever we get to try and help out with filling rooms over here, it’s a start, it’s something someone is actually doing rather than sitting around doing nothing,” Vaaelua said.
“Obviously we are happy with it – anything to help us out over here,” he said, adding that limited the sale to people who book in at accommodation will help get Savaii’s economy moving.
The Savaii Samoa Tourism Association have been calling for not only the car service on the ferry to be more affordable, but also for the Sunday ferry service to be restarted after it was cancelled partway through the state of emergency.
Vaaelua said despite continuous lobbying to Government, he has not heard anything to suggest the Sunday ferry will be restarted anytime soon.
“I don’t know if this is just for the state of emergency, or if it will carry on. Right now we are just not sure what is happening.”
Hoteliers across Savaii have been radically dropping their prices, some as low as 50 per cent, to attract locals to stay with them while the borders remain closed to tourists.
But they are struggling without a Sunday ferry service. Over the long weekend for Father’s Day occupancy was high, Vaaelua said, especially among hotels, with guests able to return to Upolu on Monday.
S.S.T.A. is currently gathering information on exactly how high the occupancy was over the long weekend.