SMART Tourism the way forward in 2018 Samoa Tourism Forum
The Samoa Tourism Industry and stakeholders gathered for this year’s Samoa Tourism Forum 2018 focusing on SMART Tourism.
Coordinated by the Samoa Tourism Authority, the Forum was established to act as an effective vehicle to inform and promote dialogue within the tourism sector on key issues which influence and shape tourism development in Samoa, the region and the world.
The Forum also began the Celebration of the Samoa Tourism Year 2018 on national efforts of guaranteeing a Beautiful destination by ensuring that Samoa is ‘Keeping it Beautiful & Keeping it Real.”
The Forum focussed on delivering the benefits embedded in the theme ‘Enabling S.M.A.R.T Tourism’ with acronyms reflecting Sustainability, Measurability, Awareness, Recognition and Technology.
The Hon. Prime Minister, Susuga Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesoliai Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi in delivering the keynote address said that Samoa’s tourism industry has positively benefited the country.
“Tourism’s positive impact on the economic and social development of our country is significant. It contributes 25 percent to gross domestic product (G.D.P.),” said Tuilaepa.
He explained, “Our total G.D.P. now is $2.1 billion tala per annum. The industry employs almost 15 percent of the population and an average of $400 million tala in tourism value per annum.”
Tuilaepa said sustainable tourism is essential for a country like Samoa because of the rich cultural values that lies deep within the heart of all Samoans. He says the forum is also a reminder that all must be sustainable and the product must be marketable and measurable. On marketing products, Tuilaepa explained that “it must be recognized that the available technologies must be employed like TripAdvisor, social media and other online travel agencies.”
He commended the local hotels for complying with the tourism standards and their resilience in times of natural disasters. He also added that Samoa Airways is a positive move for the tourism industry and it was a mistake to enter into an agreement with the Australian airline, saying such joint ventures must never be repeated.
He concluded saying it is Government’s aim that, “By 2019, Samoa will have a growing Tourism sector and become the leading tourism destination in the Pacific for sustainable tourism.”
The Samoa Tourism Forum 2018 featured presentations from marketing experts, aviation experts, regional and global partners who shared experiences and strategies to further enhance Tourism for Samoa.
Resolutions and initiatives shared amongst the participants within the two-day Forum were noted for the way forward.