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reporters@samoanews.com

LOLO AND TUILAEPA MEET IN SAMOA
 
Gov. Lolo Matalasi traveled to Apia on Tuesday to meet with Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi on several issues and also to discuss a date on which to hold the Inter Samoa Talks, which had initially been slated for last year November.
 
“There are quite a few issues that the Governor plans to discuss with Tuilaepa” in Apia this week, the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira told Samoa News early this week. Lolo is expected to return home today.
 
In one of the governor’s recent cabinet meetings, he told directors who are members of the ASG committee for the talks, to continue working with their counterparts in Samoa to put together a firm agenda on issues for American Samoa, before the two-Samoa summit is convened.
 
“I know our counterparts are very aggressive in their approach but we do our things the same usual way we conduct business,” Lolo said, adding, “We let our committee handle the decisions. So let us know the agenda before we come together to meet before we leave for Samoa.”
 
The Inter Samoa talks were originally set for November last year but American Samoa requested to have them moved to Dec. 5 and 6 due to our local Farm Fair. However, Samoa did not respond to the new scheduling and the Samoa Talks were postponed without a set date.
 
TWO CRUISE SHIPS SET FOR SATURDAY, A BENEFIT FOR ECONOMY
 
American Samoa, for the second time in the last two years, will host two cruise ships calling into the Port of Pago Pago on the same day.
 
This Saturday, Feb. 1, the ship Amsterdam arrives at 8a.m. from French Polynesia and departs 5p.m. for Fiji. The Amaden arrives at 1p.m., also from French Polynesia, and departs 11p.m. for Samoa.
 
American Samoa Visitors Bureau executive director David Vaeafe said the last time the territory hosted two ships at the same time was in 2012. “Hosting two cruise ships on the same day shows that not only we can host cruise ships of any size but also two ships on one-day,” Vaeafe told Samoa News when asked about the benefit of this move, adding that another benefit is a “one-day major boost” to the local economy.
 
He pointed out this is a plus for American Samoa when it comes to promoting the territory as a destination for cruise ships to visit.
 
With these two ships in port, Vaeafe asked the community to clean and “show our usual Samoan friendly hospitality to our visitors”. He asked that the same be done when other cruise ships call into port throughout the year.
 
A total of 33 cruise ship vendors have already signed up to sell their products on the dock, but Vaeafe says they still have a waiting list, and some of them have been referred to the Fagatogo Market Place.
 
With the two ships arriving and departing at different times, this means the territory will have onshore tourists for just over 12 hours, into the night.
 
After Saturday’s two ships, the next one for Pago Pago is Feb. 5, when the Aurora sails in at 8a.m. from Hawai’i and departs 6p.m for Tonga, according to the Visitors Bureau schedule. There are six cruise ships this month followed by four next month.
 
FAA LOOKING FOR AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS OFF-ISLAND
 
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is launching a nationwide recruitment, outreach, and education program in advance of a public vacancy announcement for new air traffic control specialist positions via USAJOBS.GOV expected on or before Feb.10 this year.
 
While American Samoa does not yet have an Air Traffic Control Tower, local residents can work in other places throughout the country and abroad, according to an FAA official.
 
The federal agency has planned a two-day Virtual Career Fair Events, available to an online audience, with the first event held Wednesday this week and the second set for Feb. 12. Additional information about these jobs is also available on www.faa.gov/jobs website.
 
“The FAA provides the safest, most efficient airspace system in the world. See if you have what it takes to be part of our world-class team,” according to FAA promotional materials.



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