STA issues statement after tourists says beach fale owner ripping them off

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The Samoa Tourism Authority has stepped in after a video has gone viral online of tourists lamenting on how “expensive it is to visit” the beaches in Lalomanu. 

Travel TomTom on TikTok posted videos of a Beach Fale owner charging them $1,000 tala to take a promotional video in Lalomanu, that clip attracted close to 300,000 viewers. 

Tom is an avid adventure traveller is from The Netherlands and has continuously travelled the world for more than 3,333 days; more than 9 years of moving around the globe, not staying in one place longer than 2-3 weeks.

The STA assured visitors who are already in the country and those who are planning their itineraries as well as the public at large, that beach fale operators at Lalomanu under the umbrella of the Aleipata Tourism Alliance (ATA). 

“And with the support of STA, are in the process of implementing response measures, following recent social media videos which show visitors disputing fees for the purpose of accessing the beach and conducting content production. 

“While STA will not go into detail about the series of events that transpired based on operator accounts, the Authority has ascertained from the Aleipata Tourism Alliance that it will call a meeting of its members to discuss what happened with the goal of collectively rolling out measures, including standard-fees among members and signage, to help protect beach fale operators, ensure visitors are informed and to help protect the image of beautiful Samoa as a visitor destination.” 

According to STA following the reopening of Samoa’s borders to international travellers on August 1st, the tourism industry has benefited directly from the gradual increase in visitor arrivals in alignment with the growth in air connectivity and international marketing efforts by STA and tourism business operators. 

“These benefits have flowed onto other industries and communities that make up the tourism supply-chain. 

“STA recently restarted its international media visit programme and has with the support of tourism businesses hosted media. 

“Through these, valuable exposure via articles and features highlighting the destination have been published and syndicated across multiple channels. 

“While STA acknowledges that the visitors intended to produce promotional content for its channels, it did not come through its media programme.” 

The STA has extended to the Alliance its offer of support as part of wider collective efforts to rebuild Samoa’s visitor economy. STA takes this opportunity to remind visitors to liaise with tourism business owners including custodians of sites and attractions, before undertaking activities and experiences (especially beyond their main place of stay).