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American Samoa need Department of Tourism overhaul!

American Samoa Tourism needs a major overhaul and the problem is within the island, not outside. The reality is that the government is just not that serious about tourism and do not see a future in having people come to the island on vacation. This is sad at best.

While Samoa has many problems, American Samoa, if cleaned up, could become a backpacker’s haven. The US Territory has many things that Samoa and even Fiji does not have. It has unlimited internet, medical care, US Postal Service to name a few. This could draw the young traveler as a stop to rest and re-supply at places like Cost U Less and others.


What is the problem with American Samoa Tourism?

It is simple. Those tuna factories are destroying the island and the government does not mind as long as they are shareholders. When you have officials that have interest in questionable operations that are not friendly to the environment; it is very hard to build a tourism sector that will bring people long term. This is one reason the island has lost so much tourism to (Western) Samoa.

The answer starts with the government in American Samoa seeing past the word tuna and looking at building tourism as a primary sector for the local economy. It is better for the local American Samoans and better for the future of the territory long term.


What will it take to have tourism that will last?

The first thing would be to fix the lack of cheap hostels on the island. I would like to see something similar to New Town in Nadi (FIji) that has a block of nothing but cheap places (dorms) for backpackers to stay in. In addition, they have an entire support system of restaurants, bars, and travel options all right there. American Samoa has the beautiful beaches that no one is using to build something like this on.

The other major issue is one that will not be easy to fix but someone has to find a way. Somehow, someway; they have to get affordable flights from Hawaii to American Samoa. I do not know how to do that. (However, low cost airline Cebu Pacific Air did just enter the US market) There needs to be a $199 flight to Hawaii even if it is no frills.


At the end of the day, a dozen backpackers spending little on a place to stay but drinking all night and eating at restaurants will be easier to draw that the high end tourist that expect five star hotels (which American Samoa has none of).

In the end, American Samoa tourism will not be fixed without some leadership with a vision.

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1 reply
  1. Joseph Faamuli
    Joseph Faamuli says:

    I totally agree with this article. While the government is trying to figure out how to get more airlines or flights btw Hawaii & Pago, our people should be building our tourism at the local grassroots level. We start with keeping our island environmentally friendly, clean and provide equitable and affordable accommodation at the village level. If we have it, and with the internet, tourists will find it. We just need a financial backing program from the Government via the development bank for stakeholders to get things going. The office of tourism needs to turn its focus on the local capacity building paradox in order for our island to be adequately prepared. Should we sole the airline issue in the near future, at least we have our act together for accommodations purposes by design and preference. We have the Nat’l Park, natural scenic legends, pristine beaches and the natural beauty of our islands that is not duplicated elsewhere. “A tunnel can be easily accessed when digging from both sides” of the mountain. We need the government to do its part and we at the grassroots level have to do our part. We can’t depend on the government to do everything. Lets reach back to hind sight before any government existed, Our people operated and depended on one another. The collectivist or communal paradox model was the leverage framework for societal wellbeing and security. As a people we thrived through challenging and difficult time bearing one another’s burden or rejoice in the collective success as a group. Though times have changed since cash economy and capitalism took over, the indigenous values and principles could remind us a thing or two on how to deal with contemporaries of these days and age. We can do it, Am. Samoa! just thinking out of the box.

    Reply

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