A special tourism industry reception was held last night to welcome the new year and celebrate the beginning of ‘Visit Samoa 2016‘.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and his Good Lady Mrs Gillian Malielegaoi hosted the event at the SIGFA Fishing House at the Samoa Ports Marina.
Susuga Tuilaepa, in his keynote address, said the tourism industry’s impact on the economic and social development of Samoa is significant.
“Tonight is about thanking and celebrating the tourism industry and stakeholders, including our own development partners for the work and progress in the development of sustainable tourism,” he said.
“Tourism is the mainstay of our economy and we have selected to continue pioneering sustainable tourism, as we have stated in our tourism sector plan and vision that by 2019 Samoa will have a growing tourism sector.
“Today, as we lift our glasses to toast the New Year and the beginning of the Visit Samoa Year 2016, we recall our commitment to develop our country into a place that we are proud to call home, and a place that tourists and citizens can enjoy for work or holiday, in peace and harmony.”
The Prime Minister also shared his gratitude for national efforts towards the development of tourism.
“It is also on this occasion that we thank the whole of Samoa watching this broadcast, for the endless support that our country had attended, to the hosting of international conferences and events, and of which international reputable guests had thanked Samoa for the efficient coordination of services,” said Tuilaepa.
“These are the working characteristics of our country, that we pray will continue in the cohesive coordination of tourism development activities on our shores.
“This is our country that tourists continue to call ‘Beautiful Samoa’.
“Let us continue to build a Samoa that makes all Samoans proud to call home, and a place that our people abroad can proudly belong, and that our development partners will want to affiliate with, and in our humility thank God for the blessings upon Samoa and for the nations and organizations who continue to help us through financial and technical support.”
The Prime Minister said the Visit Samoa 2016 is a celebration of Samoa becoming a Five Star destination with the opening of the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Bungalows, and the Taumeasina island Resort.
He said it gives rise also to the introduction of the first ever survey for the inaugural Samoa Tourism Excellence Awards, for tourism businesses which will be measured and judged by visiting tourists and the Tourism Standards Committee.