Desperate for visitors to return, tourism-reliant Pacific nations are racing to re-open borders before Christmas. But will tourists feel safe enough to travel?
After months of constitutional stalemate, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa has prevailed. But her predecessor remains in parliament, and his power base will present a major challenge for her leadership.
With a recent election declared void and another snap election called, the Pacific nation seems to be spiralling away from democracy once again.
Despite indications the Samoan government was out of favour, few predicted it could lose power.
After recent suspected COVID-19 cases and with repatriation flights postponed, Samoa takes no chances.
Research reveals a desire by Pacific tourism workers for genuine change once travel starts again, including better wages and conditions and greater local control of operations.
A reliance on local customary knowledge and practices helped people make a living and strengthened relationships with family and friends.
Tourism is vital to NZ and small economies in the Pacific. But as the Samoa Tourism Authority’s CEO says, “we can always get money back, but once there’s a loss of life you’ll never have that back”.
For more than a month, Samoa has been battling a measles outbreak of huge proportions. Things are very slowly starting to improve.
International tourism is a booming business, with tourists spending US$1.4 trillion each year. Who’s benefiting from this outlay of cash?