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Google Maps headed to Samoa: Minister

Tourism Minister Sala Fata Pinati has announced the web-based mapping service offered by U.S. tech giant Google will arrive in Samoa in three months, allowing people to find their way around the islands as well as tourism sites. 

Making the announcement in his Ministerial response during debate on the first supplementary budget for 2021, Sala said the new service will enable tourists and the public to navigate around the islands. 

Google maps is a web mapping service accessed by over 1 billion people around the world which offers satellite image and street maps, street view and route planning for travelers. 

The Minister of Tourism said the service will mean that not only tourists but the public can find their way around villages and give directions to hotels and other places. 

“You can access this on your cell phone and can help you navigate around the country,” he said. “This means that Samoa will join other countries. 

“You will no longer find it hard to find direction once you enter Samoa.”

Speaking about renovation of tourism sites to increase their economic potential, Sala said that an improvement of the attractions is the first phase of the project. 

He then made reference to the assistance to undertake renovation works courtesy of the Government of New Zealand in partnership with the Samoa Government at a total cost of $913,000 tala. 

The assistance will go towards improving popular spots like the Afu Aau waterfall at Palauli, Saleaula lava field, Laauoleola cave at Aopo, Fuipisia falls and Sopoaga falls in Lotofaga. 

The second phase will target works at the Papaseea sliding rocks at Se’ese’e, Asaga mangroves, the Savaia giant clams reserve, the  Papapapaiai waterfall, le mafa pass, palolo deep at Matautu and swimming with the turtles in Satoalepai. 

The second assistance will cost a total of $1.3 million tala. 

The M.P. for Palauli I Falefa, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga then took the floor and reminded the Minister that his constituency holds some of the most ancient historical sites of Samoa that were not included in his list. 

Faumuina argued that these are the kind of tourism attractions that foreigners love to visit and promises a great deal of income for the local community. 

Another member, the M.P. for Falealili East, Aumua Isaia Lameko also intervened and told the Parliament that there are two sites in his constituency, including the Togitogiga fall that attracts a lot of tourists and members of the public. 

Aumua urged the Minister to consider similar assistance for the attractions in the district. 

In response, the Minister of Tourism assured the Members that the "sun will rise again" and said God will provide a way if the Members keep their faith.

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