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S.H.A considers opening membership

Samoan hoteliers' premier organisation is considering opening up its membership to businesses that also have links to tourism.

Samoa Hotel Association [S.H.A.] President, Tupa'i Saleimoa Vaai, said this in an interview with the Samoa Observer on the sidelines of a meeting for its members early this week. 

He said that the S.H.A. is looking at the option of opening up its membership so that it does not only cater for the needs of hoteliers but other tourism-related businesses as well. 

"The tourism sector is not just about hotels. It also includes café, restaurants, car rentals and it’s for anybody with the mindset on tourism and if they want to combine together as a tourism association, it will be open to them," Tupa'i said.

The S.H.A. will not be limited to anybody, according to the President, who said he encourages interested businesses who are stakeholders in the tourism sector to consider combining their efforts with hoteliers.

"So they’ve got to be a tourism service provider which includes a tour guide, tour operators and tourism service operators," he added.

The proposal to open up the association’s membership was to be discussed at the now postponed annual general meeting [A.G.M.] early this year, reiterated Tupa'i. However, he said a few processes have to be undertaken to see what needed to be done, though their A.G.M. still remains uncertain. 

"We’ll go for a constitution and see what we can do to get a pass from our members because our members need to approve this particular opportunity that we wanted to take the association to," he emphasised. 

Tupa'i – whom S.H.A. members agreed to extend his term as President early this week – said it's about time they open up the association to strengthen the tourism industry, not only through its membership but also through the provision of a holistic service. 

"I think it’s about time that we do. If you look around the Pacific, tourism is everyone’s business and we want to be inclusive of everybody that has a stake in the tourism industry," he added. 

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