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Report confirms impact of pandemic on tourism industry

The tourism industry in Samoa continues to face a substantial reduction in the number of visitors due to adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was highlighted in the “Visitor Earnings and Remittances Report March 2020” compiled by the Central Bank of Samoa, Samoa Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry for Revenue and released on 29 April 2020 

The report says the tourism industry saw a substantial reduction of 62.7 per cent in visitors, compared to same month the previous year. In actual numbers, it went from 6,999 visitors to 4,164 visitors  this year.

The report added that it also recorded a drop of 41.0 per cent or 2,889 visitors over the previous month.  

The main source markets for tourists fell considerably when compared to the same period last year due to the lockdown of international borders, the continuous restrictions on travel expanded and the introduction of the 14-day quarantine for in-coming passengers.

“New Zealand was (down 2,725 visitors), Australia (down 1,486 visitors), American Samoa (down 855 visitors), USA (down 728 visitors), others (down 611 visitors), Europe (down 594 visitors),” stated the report.

It also added that the reductions were recorded for all by purpose categories.

“Visiting Friends and Relatives (V.F.R.) was (down 3,614 visitors), Holiday (down 2,615 visitors), Business and Conference (down 389 visitors), other (down 343 visitors), Sport (down 38 visitors).

Consequently, total visitor arrivals in the first nine months of 2019/20 contracted 7.4 per cent or 9,995 visitors to 124,399 visitors compared to the same period last year. 

The significant decreases were recorded for New Zealand which was (down 8,221 visitors), American Samoa (down 3,498 visitors), Australia (down 2,832 visitors), Europe (down 1,419 visitors) and USA (down 714 visitors).

The number of visitors who were V.F.R., Holiday and Other all fell by 9,930 visitors, 4,612 visitors and 1,297 visitors respectively.   

In addition, the total visitor receipts fell by 63.2 per cent or $21.7 million to $12.6 million.

This is due to a decrease in the average visitor expenditure over the same month in 2019 and was 39.5 per cent or $8.2 million less than the previous month.  

Furthermore, total visitor receipts in the first nine months of 2019/20 fell by 6.3 per cent or $25.2 million to $375.3 million when compared to the same period last year.

Underpinning this overall decrease were lower earnings from New Zealand was (down $23.7 million), Australia (down $11.9 million), American Samoa (down $8.7 million), USA ($3.4 million) and Europe ($2.1 million) where by purpose, V.F.R., Holiday and Other dropped by 15.1 percent, 10.1 percent and 8.8 percent respectively.  

The tourism price index was 8.8 percent lower than in March 2019 due to a substantial decrease in ‘Accommodation’ sub-indexes.  

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