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Samoa’s tourism industry provides a big chunk of the country’s GDP

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa’s tourism industry currently accounts for 25 percent of the country’s GDP, employing around 15 percent of the workforce and generating a third of the country’s total foreign reserves.

 “Given its prominent role in driving Samoa’s economy, the Samoa Tourism Sector Plan (STSP) was formally launched in 2014 to provide a coordinated framework for the development of tourism from 2014/ 2015 to 2019/ 2020.”

This is outlined in the sustainable development and recovery plan that was recently launched.

 “It builds on the achievements from the previous Tourism Sector Plan 2014-2019, which accomplished 80% of targets following the assessment of indicator-progress under its prescribed thematic areas.”

According to the plan obtained by Samoa News, the overall vision of the STSP was that by 2019, Samoa would have a growing tourism sector, which engages our visitors and people and is recognized as the leading Pacific destination for sustainable tourism’.

 “The underlying principles of Sustainable Tourism Development were integral to the achievement of this vision and reflected the importance of the economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Tourism arrivals (excluding cruise ship arrivals) have been on an increasing trend since June 2014 with a compound annual growth rate of 5.0% and an average annual growth rate of 7.2%.

 “The largest growth in total arrivals over the period was between FY2016/ 17 and 2017/ 18 at 11.6%.

 “Over the period, holiday makers have dominated with an average of 38.4 percent of the total arrivals followed closely by VFRs (visiting friends and relative) at 35.9 percent, other types of arrivals 16.9 percent and business/conference visitors at 7.7 percent.”

New Zealand continues to dominate at an average of 45.2 percent, followed by Australia at 21.5 percent and American Samoa at 10.8 percent.

While the main source markets remain unchanged from the previous plan period, interestingly, average annual growth between 2014 and 2019 has been from Europe at 16.1 percent, USA at 14.5 percent and Other Countries at 9.1 percent growth.

 “Visitors from New Zealand recorded an average annual growth rate of 8.5 percent, Australia at 7.1 percent and American Samoa negative average annual growth of 2.0 percent.

The number pf accommodation operators increased from 129 to 144 between 2014 and 2019.

The largest increase in the number of accommodation operators is from holiday home operators at 150.0 percent followed by deluxe accommodation operators at 27.0 percent. However, between 55.9 and 58.3 percent of all accommodation operators own budget and beach fale properties.

The preferred place of stay for visitors continues to be hotel and motel accommodations, although the relative percentage has dropped from 58.0 percent in 2014 to 56 percent in 2019.

 “The increased popularity of holiday homes and Air BnBs has seen an increase in the number of visitors staying in private accommodation from 32.0 percent in 2014 to 39.0 percent in 2019.

The earning and expenditure have steadily increased between FY2014-15 and FY2018/19 from SAT$347.5 million to $514.1 million with average annual tourism earnings of SAT$417.7 million.

 The majority of earnings are from Samoa’s main source markets of New Zealand, Australia and American Samoa at 80.0 percent and this is reflective of the trends of visitor arrivals.

“The average annual growth in expenditure per person over the period was 2.3 percent with highest annual growth recorded between FY2016/ 17 and FY2017/ 18 of 5.2 percent.”