Samoan tourism bouncing back, but recovery ongoing

Samoa's visitor arrivals have boosted the country's tourism sector recovery rate to 60 percent, but the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) believes more time is needed for full recovery.

The Samoa Observer reports this is according to Chief Executive Officer Pativaine Petaia-Tevita, who spoke to the recent Samoa Tourism Industry Meet 2023.

The STA boss said one of the challenges faced by the industry is that accommodation properties are not 100 percent back in full operation.

Pativaine said some of the operators are partially opened while some are fully opened but have yet to come up to standard, and some operators have complained about the new licensing requirements, which is delaying the roll out of the latest stimulus package.

Another issue is the "across the board" loss of employees, especially to the seasonal workers scheme (RSE).

The tourism operators also expressed concerns at the high cost of airfares to Samoa.

"The main reason is because there is only one local airline operating flights and there's no competition. Fiji Airways has been of help but it is not enough.

"In other countries where they have their own aircraft, the airfares are much cheaper," Pativaine said.

The Authority is hoping that the 60 percent recovery rate will be given a further boost before the end of the current financial year in June.

Samoa fully reopening its borders on 1 August 2022 after two-and-a-half years shutdown due to covid-19.