False quarantine report costs hotel $8000
A mistaken broadcast on TV1 Samoa about the closure of St. Therese Resort and Accommodations in Tuana'i cost the hotel $8000 in revenue, its management says.
The St. Therese Retreat and Accommodation, Raea Filisi, told the Samoa Observer that the report that the hotel was being used for quarantine purposes had cost the hotel business.
The manager said a group of 90 people composed of teachers and students from a school had planned a retreat at St. Therese for the weekend of 25 September.
But after the information from TV1 aired on 18 September, the group canceled their bookings.
The TV1 report identified St. Therese as a quarantine site for repatriated arrivals from Aotearoa.
But the report was incorrect.
“The quarantine site is on the other side, not at our place,” the Manager said.
:Most of our bookings were made for this coming weekend and one of the bookings, they pulled out. We tried our best to give them a clear explanation regarding this matter so it’s not a good thing for us because we lost revenue.”
“We expected big revenue from them because it was not just accommodations but our other facilities on hire and food and drinks […] the amount you are looking at is $8,000 tala.”
The group paid a deposit and deposits are non-refundable at Saint Therese, but the resort said they had to write a cheque to refund their deposits after parents refused to have their children at Saint Therese after it was identified as a quarantine site.
Guests invited to a wedding at St Therese scheduled for Saturday 26 September also contacted the resort with quarantine concerns.
“Wedding guests called in and they wanted to know exactly where the quarantine is taking place because they are coming to a wedding on Saturday. Parents of school children also called us and they wanted to know where the quarantine site is,” the Manager said.
The Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) for TV1 Samoa, Galumalemana Faiesea Matafeo, told the Observer it was an honest mistake.
“We made a correction on TV last night. It was just an honest mistake. When the buses turned into St. Therese, our reporter that trailed behind, he assumed that it’s owned by St. Therese. It was just an honest mistake,” Galumalemana said.
“He [the reporter] thought the whole complex [belonged] to St. Therese and it’s easy to be mistaken because it’s gated outside.”
Management at St. Therese published a public notice on their Facebook page on Sunday night, in response to the TV1 report.
“We wish to correct the false reports by TV1 that Saint Therese Retreat and Accommodation is currently hosting quarantine passengers from the recent repatriation flights. The last time St. Therese and Accommodation had quarantine passengers was March 2020 which is six months ago,” the post said.
“Whilst we await TV1 to fix this miscommunication, which we hope is genuine, we would like to assure our customers that our facilities are free, hygienic and safe and have not been a quarantine space for the repatriation in the last six months.”
The post was later removed.
In a Monday post, TV1 Samoa apologised to the hotel for its honest error.
“TV1 Samoa wishes to sincerely apologise to the Saint Therese Resort for the incorrect information that was broadcast on Tala Fou on Friday  September in stating that a group of those repatriated from Aotearoa were being quarantined at Saint Therese Resort,” TV1 said in a statement posted on social media.
“Upon reviewing our footage and information and speaking directly with Saint Therese Resort Management we can confirm that the group is staying at a church hall that is completely separate to the resort compound.”
The TV1 Samoa post was later removed.
Despite the cancellations, St. Therese owner Jackie Fepulea’i seemed to be in high spirits. She declined to comment on the situation but did say the matter has been sorted out.