Tourist sites in Savai'i not ready for border reopening
A number of Savai’i Island’s tourist attraction sites are far from ready for the opening of Samoa’s international borders on 1 August this year.
A tour of a number of spots by the Samoa Observer at the weekend confirmed that many were neglected for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A resident of Savai’i, Sione Lokeni, told this newspaper that he noticed the sites need a lot of work to bring them up to standards that are acceptable for tourists.
According to the official, the tourist sites have not been busy due to lack of visitors, which is another reason behind their slow degradation.
"It is hard for the families to upgrade when there are no guests," he said.
When this newspaper visited the Afu Aau on Monday, the site was vacant and there was no water from the largest waterfall. But the shrimps still swam in the clear waters of the river.
Retired Australian geologist, 92-year-old Warren Jopling said the Afu Aau waterfall is not just fed by the river but by fresh underground water springs.
The official said there used to be a rope which was installed by the Samoa Tourism Authority on the steps to stop people slipping.
"The rope that used to be a safety edge for walking down the steps is no longer there and the steps are quite slippery," he said.
"The Alofaaga blowholes in Taga have been difficult to access for years due to the road.
"But it is also interesting that most cars rented in Savaii are quite small. There is only one tucson and no pick ups as rentals.
"It is interesting because the sites require four wheel drives to access mostly but only small cars are more popular in Savai’i.”
The official also said that there are many sites in Savai’i that are off the grid as not a lot of information is available on them.
"For instance there is the longest cave in Samoa in Aopo called laauoleola or tree of life," he said. "That site is not even a main attraction on our ads but it is an interesting site.”
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