Samoa hotels approach govt for financial assistance

The measles epidemic, and now travel restrictions associated with Covid-19 coronavirus, has prompted hotel operators in Samoa to approach the government for financial assistance.

The president of the Hotel Association, Tupa'i Sale'imoa Va'ai, said the occupancy rate was currently low - between one and five percent - which was a huge concern to his members.

He said a few lucky hotels had 15 percent occupancy rate but most, including beach fale operators, were considering closing or laying off staff.

"There's a lot of other industries in the country but our concern is this particular impact, impacts directly to the tourism industry.

"All the other industries can still keep rolling because the economy in itself is self-sustaining and we have done a lot of measures in terms of cost-saving, domestic advertising.

"There is a lot of domestic campaigns to try and decrease our prices for the locals to come and visit our hotels but that's not enough."

Tupa'i said the more than 5000 employees in the industry would likely be reduced so hotels could meet financial obligations such as loan payments.