"Tourism is the backbone of Samoa’s wealth," Tourism Minister

Samoa’s new Minister for Tourism Lautafi Purcell was officially welcomed by the ministry staff in a special ceremony today.

The portfolio was previously held by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

The decision appoint a new Minister for Tourism in his Cabinet is a significant one as it indicates the government’s focus on developing a sustainable tourism sector.


Father Mikaele Lafaele, who officiated at the ceremony spoke a word of encouragement to the new minister and his team.


"There’s a popular slogan by the United States President. He told his country when he won the elections, 'Yes we can'," said Father Lafaele.


"Today, that’s the only answer you in the ministry should be speaking of for the next five years," he added.


"Can the ministry and minister work together? Can you accomplish great things together? Can you move forward together? The answer is, 'Yes we can'," added Father Lafaele.


Minister Purcell shared the same sentiments.


"For the next five years whatever is thrown at us, we will have just one response, 'Yes We Can'.


"That’s what we will be doing for the next five years while I am at term. I trust you will support the associate minister as much as you will support me in our time together in this ministry," he added.


The Minister expressed his excitement when his appointment was announced.


"When I was selected, I was happy. I’m not concerned if anyone doesn’t like me standing up here.


"I was selected to work. This isn’t the first time I’ve been selected to lead a hard ministry. I have been working with the establishment of a new ministry so I’m used to this," he added.


"I was always passionate about tourism. So to contribute to pushing Samoa’s tourism is very important to me," he said.


He said the challenge for the next five years is to reach certain goals and highs, things haven’t thought of yet.


The goal is to maintain tourists in Samoa. For a long term.


"Tourism in my belief, is the backbone of this country. In the next 50, 100 next 200 years," said Minister Purcell.


"Not farming, not renewable energy, its tourism," he added.

Joshua Lafoai