Travel agencies, airlines to handle passenger bookings

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 16 May 2022, 10:32PM

The Cabinet has given approval for airline companies and travel agencies to take over passenger airline bookings as the nation's international borders prepare to reopen Monday 1 August.

Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa confirmed the latest progress on the nationwide response to COVID-19 and the reopening of Samoa's borders on Monday night, while announcing the extension of the current State of Emergency Alert Level 2 for another two weeks.

"Commencing from next month June 2022 weekly flights will arrive from Australia and New Zealand and fortnightly from Fiji," she said.

"Beginning from the flight this Sunday 22nd May all booking reservations and other airline arrangements for flights coming into and out of Samoa will be handed back to airline companies and travel agents. 

"As have been the normal procedures before our borders were closed. 

"The services for registration that were done through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have now reverted back to the airline offices, using both online and onsite services. 

"The traveling public is advised to do bookings online with the relevant airline companies."

The Cabinet's approval to begin border reopening preparations was based on its assessment of the current COVID-19 vaccination rates and sector planning, added Fiame, as Samoa joined neighbouring countries to complete the reopening of their international borders.

The referral of airline booking arrangements back to airlines and travel agencies begin this Sunday 22 May. For incoming passengers, the quarantine requirement to be implemented requires travelers to self-isolate at home for 7 days. 

The Prime Minister said strict health measures and conditions have been put in place to ensure passengers adhere to reporting their test results on the third and seventh day to the Ministry of Health. 

A breach of the home isolation requirements will incur a fine of $2,000, she added. 

“The first step for reopening borders began with entry allowed for all Samoan residents in Samoan and travel on Samoan passports, Samoan travel on foreign passports but with exemption stamps for entry as well as foreign contracted workers with relevant work and temporary residence."

To date 92.9 per cent of people aged 18 years and above have completed their vaccination, according to the Prime Minister. 

She added that 88.3 per cent of those aged 12–17 and 83.5 per cent of those in the 5–11 age group have had their two doses on top of the administering of 74,218 booster shots. 

Fiame then reminded the public that vaccination against COVID-19 remained the best defence against the severe effects of the virus.

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 16 May 2022, 10:32PM
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