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Tourism sector generates $493.8 million in 2018

Tourism earnings usually reflect the performance of overall tourist numbers visiting our shores and last year's visiting numbers did not disappoint.

According to a recent Samoa Tourism Authority newsletter, tourism earnings grew by 16.4 per cent to $493.8 million from $424.4 in 2017, producing a net increase of $69.4 million.

"The higher growth achieved in 2018 earnings in proportion to growth in numbers is largely due to an increase in the "visiting friends and relatives visitors" category who have a higher average spend

"But also due to the increasing number of visitors utilising the country's deluxe and superior hotels resulting in higher yield per visitor," it read.

New Zealand continues to be the major source market for Samoa, together with Australia and other markets contributing to an increase of visitor numbers from 157,515 in 2017 to 172,496 last year.

"The overall increase in arrivals has resulted in more visitors utilising our Accommodation Products based on arrival card information, which increased to 62,777 from 55,644 an increase of 12.8 per cent over 2017 or an additional 7,133 visitors staying in paid accommodation.

"The increase is shared amongst all of our Hotel categories with all experiencing growth and is expected to impact positively on average occupancy rates across the board," read the STA report.

Tourism earnings saw a decrease from years 2014, 2015 and 2016 with growth declines of 7.37 per cent, 6.17 per cent and 5.57 per cent respectively. Earnings eventually had a turning point in 2017 with a percentage growth  of 10.48 per cent following a 16.4 per cent increase from last year.

"In terms of visitor arrivals by airline, Air New Zealand's increase in capacity and subsequent loading has seen its share increase to 36 per cent from 34 per cent when compared to 2017.

"Samoa Airways follows with 31 per cent increasing from 18 per cent, Fiji Airways increases from 12 per cent to 14 per cent. Virgins overall share drops from 26 per cent to 11 per cent as expected after the loss of its Auckland route, while Talofa maintains its 3 per cent of overall visitor arrivals."

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