17 Dec 2007

Samoan government drops entry permits for American Samoans over Christmas

11:56 am on 17 December 2007

The decision by the Samoa Government to reduce the cost of entry permits for American Samoa travellers is said to be partly due to economic reasons.

The head of immigration, Auseugaefa Poloma Komiti ,says the reduction is to help travelers from American Samoa for the holiday season but also to benefit the Samoan economy.

He said the more travellers, the more money that will circulate in the economy.

The 14 day entry permit for US nationals from American Samoa has been dropped from $30 to $10 .

The Chief Executive officer of Samoa Tourism Authority, Matatamalii Sonya Hunter, is hopeful that the reduction will boost visitors from American Samoa during the holiday season.

She says tourists from their main markets, Australia and New Zealand, are prevented from travelling at this time of year because flights are full with returning Samoans.

This sector of visiting friends and relatives provides only 30% occupancy of hotels and motels in the country.

To offset some of this slack Samoa reaches out to the regional market including American Samoa.