Vaimoana Seaside Lodge launches Christmas in the Bay
Vaimoana Seaside Lodge in Savai'i is not relenting in the face of the challenges imposed by coronavirus restrictions as it seeks to draw visitors to the Itu-o-Asau district this Christmas.
Despite damaging floods hitting the country, the hotel is launching a new initiative with the Savai'i Samoa Tourism Association (S.S.T.A.) in an attempt to draw in visitors for the festive season: "Christmas in the Bay".
A variety of different daily activities will be made available to anyone and everyone as part of the event programme, a spokeswoman for the resort said.
Tupa'i Saleimoa Va'ai, the owner of the lodge said the concept began with plans to engage hotel guests and the community within the Vaisigano No.1. district.
But as ideas flowed, the committee’s ambitions expanded to give rise to an event that could unite the entire Itu-Asau district in the spirit of Christmas.
“Once we started promoting the event earlier this month, the response from the residents in the district was one of excitement and we were very blessed to receive immediate support from local businesses as well as M.P.s of the district,” Tupa'i said.
“As of right now their donations and in-kind sponsorships are still coming in.”
Initially, Christmas in the Bay was supposed to start with a community outreach workshop on 18 December dedicated to educating select fishers and members of the aumaga (untitled men) on the threat of Alamea (Crown of Thorns Starfish) to the coral reef.
But the planned “Reef Warriors” workshop could not go ahead due to severe weather conditions.
“It wouldn’t be Christmas in the Bay without first acknowledging the importance of the precious marine resource we have here in the Asau Bay, it not only contributes to local tourism but to the livelihoods of many in this area,” said Tupa’i.
On the week of Christmas, the event will include a three-day market held in Asau between 22 to 24 December which offers free space to local farmers and vendors to sell wares.
During the Christmas Market, the event’s sponsor, Digicel, will be giving away prizes.
Visitors to the Christmas Market can expect to enjoy the festive sounds of Christmas carols from local youth groups, children’s activities, or the option of watching the first inter-village, Round the Bay Alo Paopao Fun Race.
A "Light up Da West Coast" with a Christmas competition will also be held with up to $2000 in cash prizes and hotel accommodation packages to be given away.
The competition invites households, businesses and church youth groups from within Itu Asau district to enter.
“Our mission is to light up the most western point of Samoa as a symbol of our people’s enduring resilience, faith, and hope during dark times” said Tupa’i.
“In the spirit of the Festival of Lights held in Upolu, we’re adding our light pillar to a nationwide beacon of hope and ensure we end this year on a high note after many months of non-stop challenges.
Christmas in the Bay has been the biggest event held by the Asau hotel to date and Tupa’i says the Samoa Tourism Authority’s (S.T.A.) event sponsorship has helped make the event a reality.
“At the heart of this event is the lofty notion that we can bring people together in the spirit of giving and fellowship during a difficult period for our country” he said.
“We could not have put this together without the sponsorship of Samoa Tourism Authority who have supported many of the initiatives by the Savaii Samoa Tourism Association (S.S.T.A.) in our continual efforts to promote Samoa as a destination.
“Every contribution made by our generous donors; Digicel, Pacific Ezy,Taula Beverages and event partners, Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is going towards making this Christmas a very special and memorable one.”