Tourism-dependent Pacific Islands have been anxious for international travel to resume. “Bula bubbles” and “Cook Island air bridges” have been floated by respective governments and tourism authorities as ways to overcome pandemic disruption and establish safe travel zones with New Zealand. Samoa, however, has been an outlier in this.
The “timeless” islands have launched a new tourism campaign promoting the destination to Kiwis locked out of the Island paradise. While the destination looks forward to welcoming back travellers from New Zealand, there appears to be no rush. The campaign entitled “beauty is timeless” says that Samoa’s beaches and waterholes are “still secluded” and locals are “still smiling” – and will be, however long travel restrictions remain in place.
“Samoa is still there, we’re not going anywhere, and everything remains as it was,” says Sonny Rivers, New Zealand area manager for the Samoa Tourism Authority.
Like other parts of the pacific the Samoan tourism industry relies heavily on inbound tourists, for which New Zealand is an important gateway. Around 45 per cent of the Islands’ 160000 annual visitors arrive via New Zealand air links, which are currently closed.
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