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Tourism boss acknowledges concerns

The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Tourism Authority, Fa'amatuainu Lenatai Suifua, has acknowledged the challenges faced by hoteliers as a result of the Government’s refusal to relax its Sunday state of emergency restrictions.

Fa'amatuainu attended a meeting on Monday night hosted by the Samoa Hotel Association [S.H.A.] membership and used the occasion to apologise after the Government refused to relax trading on Sundays which has affected tourism operators.

He assured the members of the association that they are doing their best to continue to appeal to the Government to reconsider the restrictions.

"I do apologise sincerely if the current works by the S.T.A. acting on your behalf in the Government as well as S.H.A. haven’t met the expectations," he said. "But rest assured that we will never rest until we’re ensured that what we’re there for is assisted so that the industry will continue with normalcy."

According to Fa'amatuainu, out of all the economic sectors in Samoa, the nation’s tourism industry is the most affected by the COVID-19 triggered economic downturn.

The four-months long measles epidemic towards the end of last year began to impact the sector before the onset of the global pandemic in January led to the start of the Government-imposed travel restrictions, directly affecting the tourism industry. 

On Tuesday this week, Faamatuainu attended another N.E.O.C [National Emergency Operations Centre] meeting, where he asked for the extension of hotel trading hours from 10-11pm as requested by most hoteliers to be later raised again in Cabinet. 

"We’ll try our best to re-address the issue, if it doesn’t go through then we will try again," he emphasised. "There’s no such thing as giving up, we’ll try as much as possible to address it over and over."

*This story has been altered to reflect the cultural context of the comments made by the Samoa Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer when he acknowledge the concerns by the Samoa Hotels Association.


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