Elisabeth Siaosi: Living the dream in soulful Savaii
Samoa Tourism takes a closer look at the stories behind the resilient people in Samoa’s tourism industry who have been most affected by the downturn in tourism due to the global pandemic.
After living on Samoa’s bigger yet quieter island for over 12 years, Amoa Resort Manager, Elisabeth Siaosi admits she is still under the enchanting spell of Savaii’s unique, un-spoilt beauty and rich culture.
For the Sydney-sider with Samoan roots, settling down in Savaii with her husband felt like coming home. She fell in love with the way of life on the big island finding a good balance between raising her growing family while enjoying her work managing Amoa Resort, a jewel in Siufaga’s crown.
"There's no denying this side of the Pacific Islands has so much going for it in terms of culture and beauty. Samoa is just like the idyllic pictures we all know of Polynesia. With its year round temperate weather, lush tropical landscapes and warm smiling faces, as a newcomer to the Samoan tourism industry, back then it was literally a dream.
“Coming from Sydney I didn't think that living in the islands would change my perspective on life as much as it did but I love the authentic and natural flow of life here. There is lot’s to keep you busy but it’s also a place and culture and that allows time for slowing down too. I guess it was just meant to be, it felt like a perfect fit.
“Farmers and fishers play a huge part in our local tourism industry- not only do they supply fresh produce to all the resorts but they have also welcomed guests on tours organised by resort staff. Guests are genuinely keen to explore the island through authentic tours such as village walks, plantation tours and food experiences.
“Before lock down, our guests would stop at the different plantations during our village tour so they could learn more about Samoan food and see where and who grows the food served in our restaurant. I've never once needed an itinerary as there’s always something to entertain or teach our guests about Samoan Culture.
"We have an opportunity to directly support those in our community by using local produce. Every vaitipolo (lemonade), niu (baby coconut), popo (coconut) served to a guest is supporting a local farmer and family. It’s the little wins that make the work that we do even more rewarding. We are so blessed, Samoa remains Covid-free and being able to operate a business and travel around the country is a luxury few have anymore.
“We are now facing nearly 2 years of the Covid-19 pandemic and globally, people are physically & mentally drained from going through the toughest times of their lives. Once we are able to return to normality with international travel, I truly believe travellers will most likely look to find destinations that are less crowded, natural and beautiful where they can heal and re-invent themselves.
“Our living culture may just well be the golden ticket that we need to stand out in a post Covid tourism market. With our strong family oriented culture and laid back lifestyle, we already have the qualities people are searching for having lived through multiple years of lockdowns.
"I am a proud Board Member of the Savaii Samoa Tourism Association (SSTA) Committee for the last 11 years and it’s been an honour to learn and share from other members of our close-knit industry in Savaii who have inspired me in so many ways.
"What I love the most about our collective is that while we all have different experiences and stories to tell, we are strongly united by a shared passion about our island and being true to the Samoan way. If you want to experience it for yourself - make sure you come to Savaii!"