Ecotourism's potential untapped: S.T.A. chief

Samoa has a lot of potential in ecotourism and the Samoa Tourism Authority (S.T.A.) is working with villages to develop that sector of tourism.

S.T.A. Chief Executive Officer, Fa'amatuainu Lenatai Suifua, told the Samoa Observer in an interview that the country’s untapped potential such as ecotourism is being developed at the community level.

However he says there are hurdles to overcome because their full potential can be harnessed.

"The only difficulty we have is the access but for Savai’i alone, Savai’i there's an abundance in terms of nature walks as well as forestry and also in terms of the waterfall," Fa'amatuainu said in an interview with the Samoa Observer on Wednesday.

He confirmed that they have been working with villages in terms of improving access but are also ensuring that there will be no harm to the pristine environment from human waste.

Fa'amatuainu said this is unlike in Upolu where the Moataa Mangrove Protected Area and the Palolo Deep are prime tourism sites near town, especially Palolo Deep for those who like snorkeling and the Moataa Mangrove Protected Area offers kayaking within the mangrove reserve.

According to Fa'amatuainu, the ecotourism spot at Moataa was unfortunately opened during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he emphasised that it has a lot of potential.

He added that before the COVID-19 pandemic there was emphasis on the local market but the returns have been minimal, though the potential is always there.

"The local market can always substitute and help us where we can," Fa'amatuainu said.

The S.T.A. C.E.O. also revealed that they are going to work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on the Masamasa trail which was previously a Cornwall estate of about 2000 acres.

"So we were there last week and that's one of the amazing sites," he said and indicated that it is suitable for hiking and trekking.

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