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ASG, biz sector at Cruise Ship convention

A territorial delegation made up of private and government officials are attending this week’s annual Cruise Shipping Miami Convention in Florida that opened Monday and ends today at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

According to the Cruise Shipping Miami website, “No other event in the world attracts such a broad range of industry players with over 1,800 cruise line owner and operators from 66 companies in attendance” last year.

This is the third year American Samoa has participated in this event as a member of the ‘South Pacific Cruise Alliance’ (SPCA). Other members of SPCA are Tahiti, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.

American Samoa Visitor’s Bureau executive director David Vaeafe said cruise ship visits were one of the key niches identified in the Tourism Master Plan and an important sector that we need to build upon.

Other members of the local delegation include representatives from Port Administration,  Polynesia Shipping Services and Alofas Tours.

“We have 19 ships visiting this year which is a record for American Samoa and if we are to capitalize on this we need to meet these cruise operators and showcase our destination,” said Vaeafe in the Visitor’s Bureau March edition of their e-Newsletter.

“Our delegation has come prepared with promotional material, rates and contracts, and as cruising companies plan their destination visits two to three years in advance, we plan to give them all the information they need to select American Samoa as a port stopover as they travel through the region heading north and south,” he said.

For this year’s event, SPCA secured funding support from the South Pacific Tourism Organization and the Fonds Pacifique (of the French Government) to assist with the Alliance’s combined regional display at the convention, according to the executive director.

“As a regional body we have collectively come together to promote the unique destinations found in our part of the Pacific Ocean,” said Vaeafe. “Collectively we have six countries, hundreds of islands and unlimited cruise itineraries which make us a strong lobbying body in terms of what we can offer.”

Meanwhile, the Visitor’s Bureau said two ships are set to visit the territory in April. The first will be on Apr. 22 with the “Rhapsody of the Seas” scheduled to arrive from Fiji Islands at 8.00 a.m. and depart for Samoa at 5.00 p.m. Then on Apr. 26, the “Sea Princess” arrives from the Fiji Islands at 7.00 a.m. and departs for French Polynesia at 5.00 p.m.