After having had its tourism industry disrupted due to Covid-19 pandemic, the beautiful shorelines of Samoa have finally once again welcomed international travellers on the first direct flights from American Samoa, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.
Straight off the flights, passengers were greeted by the Minister of Tourism, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster and the Samoa Tourism Authority Board of Directors and CEO, as well as the High Commissioner of Australia, Emily Luck who was at Faleolo International Airport to welcome the first direct flight from Sydney/Brisbane, says a press release.
“The past two years have been a trying time for the world, but as Samoa reopens its borders, it is our acknowledgement that our internal protection measures are safe for our people and for the yearning travellers who are wanting to visit family and friends, and who are eager to explore our heritage and natural environment,” said Schuster.
Schuster highlighted that with the reopening, Samoa is looking forward to hosting all visitors, and showcasing its culture and environment, while continuing to be mindful of the necessary travel health advisories for protection.
Before the Covid-19 outbreak, Samoa welcomed over 181,000 international visitors in 2019. The total revenues generated because of international visitors reached WST 528 million (USD 197 million) in the same year.
Pativaine Petaia-Tevita, who was recently appointed Samoa Tourism Authority CEO, shared her excitement and optimism for the return of international visitors to Samoan shores.
“We are very excited to welcome back travellers on the first direct flights since our reopening. Samoa has been waiting for this moment for a long time and it was wonderful and uplifting to see passengers fill the terminal once again,” said Tevita.
“Our reopening is a special milestone which we celebrated in a special way along with the return of international visitors including family and friends,” added Tevita.
A series of developments and new processes were put in place to ensure Samoa would be travel ready, and that the health and safety of locals and international travellers remained of utmost priority. Samoa’s robust preparations include the achievement of high vaccination rates, training and upskilling for local employees, upgraded travel instructions and bolstered testing capabilities.
Vaccination rates were pivotal in the decision to reopen, with the most recent data showing that almost 93 pc of Samoa’s eligible population, aged 5 years and over, has been fully vaccinated.
The destination offers big ticket attractions and much-loved natural treasures to the influx of travellers over the coming months, including the famous To Sua Ocean Trench, Piula Cave Pool, Afu Aau Waterfalls, Lalomanu Beach, and Samoan Cultural Village.