More cruise ship visitors bring economic boost, says Visitors Bureau
More than 14,000 passengers and crew members visited our shores in the last four months of 2013 on board six ships boosting the local economy, according to the American Samoa Visitors Bureau’s FY 2014 first quarter performance report submitted by chief executive officer David Vaeafe.
Visitors took tours, ate in restaurants and shopped around town area and with the vendors on the dock, said Vaeafe, adding that total passengers came to 9905 while crew totaled 4217 for the six ships.
For the first quarter, covering the period of Oct. 1 - Dec. 31, 2013, Vaeafe says ASVB’s activities continued to grow and support the local tourism industry, creating jobs and opportunities for a broad range of local business.
“Our continued networking with our global travel partners — airlines, travel wholesalers and retailers — gives our tourism industry more exposure and sales opportunities in new markets and our international travel partners have generated additional new tourists for American Samoa in the last year and all are very excited to continue to develop more product to sell in the [year] 2014,” he said.
He also said that ASVB capacity building training programs for the local tourism industry is paying off giving them the necessary skills to market and promote their products and services overseas.
“There is still a lot of work that needs to be done on the airline front — in firstly getting better from our existing... carriers, but also looking at new airlines and opportunities,” Vaeafa said.
(In his state of the Territory Address last month, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga told lawmakers he will be exploring the possibility of South Pacific and Asian airlines to extend services to American Samoa.)
“At the same time, our island infrastructure and services — road, immigration access, communication etc. — all need to be maintained and expanded to meet the growth that tourism will bring with the next 10 years.”
Vaeafe reiterated his statements of last year that tourism development requires the whole government approach as well as “a strong public private sector partnership, with government doing everything possible to support the local tourism industry sector.”