Samoa visitor arrivals returning to pre-pandemic levels

Photo: NZ Immigration

Visitors to Samoa’s shores in the first quarter of 2023 totaled over 30,000 with data released by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics (SBS) showing arrivals beginning to get to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

International arrival and departure statistics released by the SBS on 02 May 2023 showed that for the first quarter of this year, a total of 30,136 visitors were recorded. However, the bureau said this was a decrease of 7.2 percent over the previous quarter and an increase of 39.0 per cent when compared to the corresponding quarter of 2020.

Traveling into Samoa by air remained the most popular, according to the SBS report, as it was the most preferred mode of travel to Samoa and represented 95.5 per cent of total arrivals, while those that arrived by sea accounted for the remaining 4.5 percent.

Visitors, including transit, made up the largest component of all arrivals with 33.1 percent (14,445) recorded for males and 33.0 percent (14,396) for females. Male and female returning residents made up 16.8 percent (7,333) and 14.2 percent (6,202) respectively of total arrivals while temporary residents made up 1.8 percent (765) for males and 1.2 per cent (530) for females.

In terms of visitors by country of usual residence, the SBS report said New Zealand continued to be the leading country in visitors’ arrival by country of usual residence and accounted for 46.1 percent or 13,886 of total visitors. Australia followed next with a distant 23.3 percent share (7,025) while USA recorded a share of 8.0 percent (2,398) followed by American Samoa with a share of 7.4 percent (2,225). 

New Zealand, Australia, American Samoa, and the United States of America constituted 84.7 percent of all visitors visiting Samoa while other countries round up the remaining 15.3 percent during the reference period.

While visitors that entered Samoa’s shores to visit friends and relatives accounted for 39.7 per cent of all visitors. Those who were here for holiday or vacation accounted for 32.8 percent while those that traveled for other purposes made up 17.5 percent of total visitors. Business and Conference accounted for 5.2 percent while transients bound for other destinations and sports registered 4.4 and 0.5 percent respectively.

As for arrivals by carrier, Air New Zealand leads the way for arrivals by carriers during the reference period with a 41.3 percent share (18,047 passengers) followed by Fiji Airways with a share of 24.7 percent (10,805 passengers). Samoa Airways recorded a 8.8 percent share (3,850), Qantas brought in 8.0 percent (3,511), while Talofa Airways brought in 7.0 percent (3,069 passengers). As for how long the visitors stayed in Samoa, the usual trend is between 7 days and 30 days. On the other hand, 63.8 per cent (18,374) stayed in private accommodation or with families or relatives while 28.6 percent (8,242) of total visitors reported staying in hotels or motels.