Putting Samoa on the global tourist map

Global event revolves around local show

Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) Chief Executive Officer Matatamali’i Sonja Hunter says the SIDS event is an opportunity to showcase Samoa not only to the visiting 3000 delegates but also to television viewers around the world. “We are doing our best to leverage the invaluable media coverage and potential word of mouth publicity that the event brings to Samoa as a destination.”

Hunter and her team have been working on organising the event for over a year. A comprehensive survey conducted last year revealed important insights on how visitors view the country, what they like and dislike. While the reaction of most visitors was overwhelmingly positive, it is the less flattering attributes that STA has been concentrating on. “It’s good to be told what we are good at. It is far more important to work on what we need to improve upon,” Hunter says. “After all, word of mouth is the best form of publicity and we want people to go back with the best of memories of their visit here.”

STA along with other Government agencies and communities around the country have embarked on a cleanliness drive. ‘Clean up, shape up’ is the mantra. Samoa’s natural tropical flora, which adds vibrant colour to its landscape, has been put to delightfully aesthetic use along thoroughfares and around event areas. “Community involvement around beautification has been enthusiastic and it is wonderful to see everyone taking pride on sprucing up all the precincts,” Hunter says. “Love and pride are at the very heart of this activity.”

The vexatious stray dog problem that has long plagued the country has also been dealt with. A legislation addressing the issue was passed in 2013 after years of deliberation and follow up from the tourism industry. A new pound has now been established and a couple of specialised dog control vans have been brought in from New Zealand and have been making the rounds around town.

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