Tourism operators promote Covid vaccination

Tourism operators in Samoa are looking forward to international borders reopening and are leading the Government’s efforts to rollout its COVID-19 mass vaccination programme.

Se’eti Beach Fales General Manager, Ketesemane Tupa’i Tautua, sees the link between the mass vaccination programme and the reopening of the borders and decided to travel to Upolu from Savai’i to get inoculated.

“I traveled to Upolu on the 24th of May and got my COVID-19 shot. I was determined to get vaccinated because when borders open tourists will visit our beach fales and we are safe,” he told the Samoa Observer.

“Also to support the Ministry of Health as they are rolling-out Covid-19 vaccine and motivating other people of our nation to get vaccinated.”

Ketesemane was among three employees of Falealupo and Se'eti Beach Fales who traveled to Upolu in the early hours of the morning last Thursday in order to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. 

He said tourism operators in Savai’i are determined to get vaccinated, and the willingness of those who travelled to Upolu and returned to the big island on the same day confirms their commitment. 

The vaccination push by the Savai’i tourism operators coincides with the assurance by the Samoa Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer, Faamatuainu Lenata’i Suifua that the industry will “do it for Samoa” by promoting the vaccination programme that kicked off in April this year.

“We acknowledge our stakeholders from Savai’i who made the lengthy journey and encourage others to get vaccinated quickly,” he said in a statement issued by the authority.

“We are delighted that people on Savai’i can now be vaccinated at Tuasivi Hospital.

“Our combined efforts and willingness is testament of the tourism sector’s support towards national efforts to keep Samoa COVID-free and also prepare our destination to be travel-ready and host international visitors when borders reopen.”

Faamatuainu said that with COVID-19 vaccination now likely to become mandatory for international travel, it was important that Samoa’s tourism industry supported the programme.

“The support of the industry and Samoa is vital and needs to continue as this will have an impact on when our borders can reopen, which in turn will determine when we can begin to rebuild and recover,” he said. 

As part of the support by the industry, the S.T.A. assisted local tourism operators with transportation to and from the COVID-19 vaccination centres.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Saturday, a total of 36,457 of Samoa’s eligible population had been vaccinated for COVID-19 as of Friday 4 June 2021.

Males continued to lead with 20,070 getting inoculated followed by females on 16,387.

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