4 Nov 2008

Samoa hoteliers highlight Air NZ role for tourism

5:40 pm on 4 November 2008

The Samoa Hotels Association says the weekly Air New Zealand flight between Apia and Los Angeles - which is currently under review - has opened the door for tourists from Europe and Canada to begin visiting the country.

The Association's CEO Nynette Sass says the flight is an important part of the nation's tourism strategy.

"It's not just the US market that we're targetting, it is also the European market that normally comes via LA, and we've also been looking at the Canadian side, and there is a lot of potential there which we're very keen to develop but if this flight doesn't work I guess all that goes down the drain as well."

Nynette Sass says tourism is a growth industry in Samoa with two international hotel chains in the process of constructing resorts and a local investor creating an inland retreat.

But she doubts whether the hotels are in a position to contribute anything towards the 4 million dollar subsidy Air New Zealand is seeking from the Samoa and Tonga governments to continue the flights.

Air New Zealand has given Samoa and Tonga until December the 15th to agree to subsidise the weekly LA, Apia, Tonga flight.