SAMOA RAMPS UP ROBUST TRAVEL-READY PREPARATIONS
Neighbouring nation Samoa has been steadily ramping up their visitor-ready preparations to ensure a robust framework is tried, tested and ready-to-go, in anticipation of borders opening and welcoming tourists to the Island nation later this year. After successful travel bubbles launched between Australia and New Zealand in April, and the Cook Islands and New Zealand this week, Samoa is anticipating a similar development in the second half of 2021.
The Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) has been busily working hard behind the scenes with local operators and national bodies, as well as with the New Zealand Government, to ensure the Pacific nation is ready for when a travel bubble is announced.
A series of developments and new processes have been actioned to make Samoa travel ready, ensuring the health and safety of local Samoan’s, and international travellers, is of the utmost priority when finalising a travel ready framework. Samoa’s robust preparations include a national vaccination rollout, their own version of the digital tracing app, upskilling for local employees, upgraded travel instructions, and bolstered testing capabilities.
STA CEO, Faamatuainu Lenatai Suifua, said they have been working hard to ensure the nation is prepared for when borders open with the appropriate neighbouring countries.
“As regional travel bubbles take shape, Samoa has been striving to ensure critical components of our travel ready toolkit are in place.
All of these efforts go towards ensuring we are in a position to open borders to our neighbours safely. We look forward to welcoming vaccinated visitors with open arms, when the time is right for all countries involved.”
As one of the original socially distant friendly destinations, Samoa has recorded zero COVID-19 cases and locals will be consistently working to make sure this stays the case.
Further information on Samoa’s travel-ready preparations:
National vaccination rollout:
- Samoa’s national COVID-19 vaccination programme is currently underway throughout the country. As of 23rd May 2021, 26,889 locals have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, approximately 20% of the eligible population. Another shipment of 28,000 doses arrived on 17th May.
Digital tracing app:
- Samoa’s own version of a COVID tracer app, the Samoa Travel Tracer, is a joint initiative with the Samoa Tourism Authority and Ministry of Health. Currently under development, the app will be used for contract tracing for locals and travellers in Samoa and is expected to be completed by mid-June.
- The new tracer app will include Bluetooth capabilities to assist in tracking COVID-19 positive cases, and their close contacts, for stronger contact tracing capacity.
Upskilling of local employees:
- The Samoa Tourism Authority has delivered the first round of Health, Safety and Disinfectant training to upskill employees on necessary health measures and protocols for COVID-19.
- With assistance from the New Zealand Government, the sector has been fully supported through the provision of cleaning equipment, substances and PPE.
Upgraded travel instructions and testing capabilities:
- The Samoa National Emergency Operations Centre has declared that from July 1st 2021, all travellers into Samoa must be fully vaccinated before they arrive.
- The testing capabilities of the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS) have also been recently boosted.