The Samoa Tourism Authority yesterday launched its 5-year Samoa Cruise Tourism Strategy 2021/2022 to 2026/2027.
Chief Executive, Pativaine Petaia-Tevita during her opening remarks said the broader tourism sector, cruise tourism has been significantly affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“For Samoa, the downturn started earlier with the Measles Epidemic at the end of 2019. “With the reopening of Samoa’s borders to international travellers on August 1st and the removal of Covid-19 entry requirements for travellers on September 22nd, Samoa was able to welcome its first port call on 18th October, a welcome milestone for all stakeholders with a vested interest in the industry and especially as efforts are underway to rebuild tourism and this particular niche segment.
“The Strategy we’re here to launch, is the first dedicated framework for cruise tourism and its overarching objective is to facilitate tourism recovery and enhance the economic impact of cruise tourism through key policy and strategic responses over the next 5 years.
1. Preparedness and readiness
2. Market promotions
3. Product development
4. Data and information
5. and Accessibility”.
According to the CEO from a planning framework perspective, the strategy doesn’t exist in isolation and is well-linked to the Pathway for the Development of Samoa through the key strategic outcome of ‘Tourism Revitalisation’, the draft Samoa Tourism Sector Plan, the Samoa Tourism Strategic Marketing Plan, the UN SDGs, the World Bank 2040 Pacific Possible Tourism, the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework 2030 and the Pacific Tourism Organisation Strategic Plan 2020-2040.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as part of the process to develop the strategy, a situational analysis was undertaken at the outset.
“Consultations were held with key stakeholders here in Samoa and abroad. Through these, there was active engagement with Shipping Agents, Tour Operators, Cruise Lines, Border Agencies, Cruise Alliances and Others as part of efforts to develop a sound understanding of the landscape and inform the following phases of the project.”
She said given Samoa’s geographic location, the majority of cruise ships that have called in tend to be on longer trans-Pacific repositioning and round-the-world itineraries and during 2014-2019, there were on average 14 port calls per annum with a total economic injection of approximately $5.2 million tala per year.
“From a recovery perspective, the Strategy outlines two possible scenarios which forecast between 3 and 7 port calls a year up to 2027 with a total economic injection of $7.4 million to $11.7 million annually.
“I am delighted to share that cruise timetables published online currently indicate that there will be 12-14 port calls during 2023-2024.
“That said, we must all strengthen and continue our coordinated collective approach to rebuilding cruise tourism and actively pursue the opportunities outlined in the Strategy.
“From destination marketing to developing engaging and meaningful experiences for cruise passengers and crew. And from carrying out surveys and research that inform decision-making, to ensuring destination competitiveness through accessibility and enhanced port-user experience…we must move forward in unison to achieve our shared goal.”
In closing the CEO acknowledged with sincere appreciation the support of UN-ESCAP.
“I’d also like to recognise the hard work of all stakeholders both public and private that ensures we’re in a strategic position to sustainable take things forward.”