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Community Briefs


The first group of travel wholesalers to visit American Samoa from New Zealand arrived in Pago Pago yesterday for a one-day visit before returning to Samoa later this afternoon.

Six wholesalers and one media representative were hosted last night by the American Samoa Visitor’s Bureau at a function at the Tradewinds Hotel in Ottoville.  The familiarization group is the first of three planned for this year, under a program funded by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs.

"When a potential traveler visits a travel agent and asks about going to a particular destination for their holiday, a travel agent is 100 times more likely to sell it to them if they have had a chance to visit and experience the destination themselves,” Visitor’s Bureau executive director David Vaeafe said early this week.

“If they haven't then they are going to sell them another holiday destination. For American Samoa, 99% the world's travel industry have no idea we exist, so these visits are important for us to educate them on what American Samoa has to offer,” he said.

These wholesalers all sell the South Pacific in the New Zealand marketplace, and New Zealanders are the second largest group of travelers to holiday in the South Pacific region after Australians, said Vaeafe.

The media representative in the group  is Stu Freeman publisher and editor of Travelinc, the largest travel trade magazine focusing on travel and incentive group operators and special interest group travel.

"As part of the Visitor’s Bureau marketing and promotion plan, we will be running a mini holiday marketing campaign with one of these wholesalers, 'Our Pacific' later this year in the New Zealand market place, to attract new tourists to the Territory,” he said. “This is part and parcel of our overall strategy to partner up local travel industry operators with our international travel partners to promote and sell American Samoa.

While on island the group toured Tutuila, undertaking some hotel site inspections and meeting local industry members with a little free time to go shopping. Also supporting this familiarization group visit is  Air New Zealand, Inter Island Airways, Tradewinds Hotel, Moana O Sina, Pago Pago Tradewinds Tours, Aggie Grey's Lagoon Beach Resort & Spa and the Visitor’s Bureau.


More than a week ago, Ili’ili mayor Tautua Tapuali'i Tupua personally witnessed a truck with two men, dumping scrap metal along the road in the village and so he went to the police station this week to talk to investigators.

The incident occurred just days after a major clean up was carried out in the area, around next to the Golf Course, where scrap metal and other trash were dumped.

After witnessing the truck dumping scrap metal in his village, Tautua contacted the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency, and Rep. Larry Sanitoa.  Tupua also had the license plate of the truck as well as the description of the truck, which was provided to police this week.

“The person should be cited and the maximum amount which is up to $100 for the first violation. This is important because no matter how hard we try to inform our people to be responsible citizens and do the right thing when it comes to dumping scrap metal and trash we will always have those who just have a “no-care” attitude,” Sanitoa wrote in his letter to Department of Public Safety for help in investigating this case.

“This is why it is so important to have DPS on board to enforce this statute and we need to let the public know that we are serious about this on-going problem,” he wrote.

Tupua told Samoa News this week that he approached the driver of the truck and asked why they were dumping scrap metal in Ili’ili road side when it’s illegal  and he was allegedly told by the driver that they were allowed by ASPA.

(ASPA has denied telling anyone to dump their trash on the road side and ASPA had already made a public plea for people not to dump their trash and scrap metal on the roadside next to the Golf Course.)

The village mayor said he continued talking to the driver to await police that were called to the screen. “Suddenly the truck took off,” he said, adding that the license plate of the truck is already given to police, who are conducting their investigation at this point.

Besides this instance, others have witnessed another vehicle dumping scrap metal around the Golf Course area, but it was already dark in the early evening to make out the license plate.