Festive season travel to be low: shipping service

The Samoa Shipping Corporation is not anticipating inter-island peak travel during the festive season due to the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The SSC General Manager, Leiataua Samuel Decca Phineas, told the Samoa Observer that they have bookings for the month of December but the schedule will not change as they don’t anticipate an increase in demand.

He said if necessary extra trips will be added to the schedule of their ferry service between Upolu and Savai’i.

According to the SSC Operation Manager, Patea Raymond Taefu, with the borders closed and no tourists currently in-country they don’t expect a busy festive season like in previous years prior to COVID-19.

However, they anticipate a surge in travel during the school holiday period with Leiataua urging members of the public to plan ahead, though they are always ready to address increasing demand for their services.

Leiataua also asked the public who will be traveling during the festive season to leave the 6am and 4pm ferry service to workers and students, and take the other scheduled services.

The corporation anticipates less ticket sales for domestic travel this year compared to the same period last year.

“The borders last year were open, but this year the borders are closed,” he said.

Patea said when the borders were open last year during the festive season, a lot of tourists travelled together with people who had family obligations.

But that is likely to change now with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting a lot of the travellers, though Patea is hopeful people utilise their ferry services during the festive season.

Leiataua revealed that the current preparation done by S.S.C for the month of December is to upgrade the channel markers and channel lights in case they need trips at night.

According to Patea, the last trip before Christmas last year was at around 10pm.

Leiataua added that they will probably finish upgrading the channel markers for Mulifanua on Friday and will then head to Salelologa.

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