SAMOA TOURISM DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE BELIEVED LOOKING AT NEW LUXURY HOTEL

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APIA, Samoa (September 15, 2000 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---The Tourism Development Committee recently approved by Samoa's Cabinet is reportedly exploring the possibilities of building a luxury hotel to cater for the growing number of tourists wanting to visit the country.

Reliable reports indicate the committee -- made up of officials from the Samoa Visitors Bureau, trading banks, the Tourism Association, the Treasury Department, Polynesian Airlines and the Chamber of Commerce -- are already pondering the idea.

Samoa Visitors Bureau general manager Fua Hazelman could not be reached for comment as she is off island.

But observers believe the hotel move is a healthy one as far as the country is concerned.

Based on this year's unprecedented tourism influx, they believe boosting hotel standards and increasing the number of rooms would further develop the industry.

Samoa is already bearing fruit from the unsound political situation in Fiji.

Since the George Speight-led Fiji coup tourists have looked for alternative destinations and many have turned to Samoa.

Some regional meetings originally scheduled for Fiji were rescheduled to Apia.

The international Camel Trophy Adventure Tour coming to Apia and an increased international rugby season are among the highlights.

But there are not enough hotel rooms. One rugby team had to be billeted because all the hotels were fully booked.

At present Apia has two international level hotels, Aggie Grey's and the Kitano Tusitala, and numerous small establishments.

Among other matters, the Tourism Development Committee's role will be to deal with the general improvement of the industry.

They will look at how to effectively sell Samoa internationally and promote Samoa as a sound family tourism destination.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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