Visitors to American Samoa continue to rise

PACIFIC Islands and US visitation continues to dominate the American Samoa tourism landscape, accounting for more than half of all visitors (69.5 per cent) with visiting friends and relatives (VFR) traffic representing for 54.9 per cent of the country’s overall annual total.

The American Samoa Visitors Bureau yesterday released the 2017 International Visitor Survey (IVS) Report.

South Pacific Tourism Organisation chief executive officer Christopher Cocker said: “With an estimated expenditure of $US3.4 million ($F6.8m) generated from the surveyed visitors, and visitation continuing to increase, the American Samoa tourism sector is well on track to becoming an economic pillar and driver for the South Pacific nation,” said Mr Cocker.

A statement from SPTO yesterday said this was the first intensive study commissioned by the American Samoa Visitors Bureau (ASVB) and delivered by the SPTO.

It said the report provided a quantitative and qualitative assessment of visitors, which in turn would provide key stakeholders with comprehensive and accurate information on the characteristics, behaviour and expenditure of visitors to American Samoa.

According to SPTO the information would be used by the government and tourism industry stakeholders for policy formulation and making informed business decisions and planning.

The report also highlights the most popular activities and attractions for visiting the territory remained — with cafes/restaurants (60.4 per cent) and shopping (46.4 per cent).

It said further insights detailed 68 per cent of visitors saying that they would definitely recommend American Samoa as a holiday destination to others and 70 per cent saying they would return to the destination for a further visit.

ASVB executive director David Vaeafe described the survey results as very positive and evidence that the American Samoa tourism industry was “staying on track” to becoming a major economic pillar in a short span of time.

Mr Vaeafe also indicated that there were still some areas for improvement but also new opportunities for further development.

“American Samoa’s tourism industry and product is unique and continued research will assist our Territory in developing and refining a strong and sustainable tourism sector for future generations to come,” he said.

He said the public private sector partnership drive to tourism development by the bureau and the whole of government approach in the sector was achieving the desired results.

He said the implementation of the 2010 Tourism Master Plan was seeing tourism development taking hold with new and established businesses registering positive growth, though small and steady.

The survey also found that while water-based activities including swimming and snorkeling are high on visitors wish lists; sightseeing, walking/hiking, visiting friends and relatives, visiting a village, relaxing, bars/nightclubs remain among the top 10 reasons for visiting.

The IVS is a major initiative of the bureau that provides the right information for both the policy makers and the industry” he said.

The American Samoa IVS 2017 was conducted by ASVB in collaboration with SPTO over a period of nine months from December 2016 to August 2017.

Interviewing took place at Pago Pago International Airport Departure areas.

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