Visitors Bureau and Hawaiian Air US working on travel package

Looking to sell it next month
fili@samoanews.com

American Samoa Visitors Bureau and Hawaiian Airlines have agreed to work together on a travel package, which includes airfare, accommodations and car rental, to entice visitors from the US to travel to the territory.

The Visitors Bureau has hinted in the past several months of possible ways it was working with Hawaiian Air to promote American Samoa and one of them is a travel package to bring US visitors to Pago Pago.

Speaking at last Thursday’s cabinet meeting, Visitors Bureau Deputy Director Vaito’a Hans Langkilde said a new plan for “industry development’ is in the works, whereby the Visitors Bureau and Hawaiian Air have agreed to work together on a travel package for visitors and tourists to travel to American Samoa.

He said the current plan for the travel package would allow travelers from US cities — including New York City on the East Coast — that are served by Hawaiian Air to visit American Samoa for between a two to four nights stay in the territory and the travel package includes airfares, hotel room and rental car.

While the price of the travel package was not revealed at the cabinet meeting, Vaito’a did say that they are looking to start selling the package next month and travel can be made up to September. He said the goal is to promote American Samoa as a tourist destination.

Vaito’a noted the Visitors Bureau and Hawaiian Air are still working to finalize the travel package plan. Additionally, the Visitors Bureau is working with other airlines such as Fiji Airways and those that serve the inter Samoa route for similar types of travel packages, in which visitors from the South Pacific travel to Apia, Samoa and make a side trip to American Samoa.

(Samoa News understands that Air New Zealand’s wholesale travel company already has in place a similar travel package to Samoa, which includes a side trip to American Samoa.)

Vaitoa said the Visitors Bureau is looking for some time next month to meet with Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga after the Jan. 3, 2017 Inauguration Day to discuss the agency’s plans for future tourism development and programs.

During the cabinet meeting early this month, Gov. Lolo called on Vaitoa and the Visitors Bureau Executive Director David Vaeafe to revisit and conduct a new review of the agency’s long-term tourism development plan to focus attention on local developments and attractions first.

Lolo said that for the last four years, “We’ve been having some conflicts with the Fono” and it’s the Fono’s belief that the focus should be on the development of a local tourism infrastructure “before we even move outside to attract” off island visitors; and Lolo says he agrees with this thinking by the Fono.

The Visitors Bureau is currently using the 2010 American Samoa Tourism Master Plan for tourism development.

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