Samoa Looks To Turn Apia Into Bustling Tourism Hub

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Minister says plans for big developments at early stage

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, April 22, 2013) – Samoa’s Government wants to turn the Apia capital into a hive of tourist activity.

Plans to create space in the urban area for tourism development are in the pipeline.

Options that arise from the plans are at an early stage of exploration.

"It’s not something that we will do overnight, no, we are looking at the next 20 to maybe 50 years," said Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) Fa’amoetauloa Ulaitino Faale Tumaali’i.

It’ll see office workers, public servants included, pulling up stakes and shift to the western side of Apia.

That process has already started with several Government ministries now shifted to the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi Building which opened in 2011.

Manmade beaches and waterfront bungalows are envisioned along with tall office buildings, Government and non-government, turned into hotels and motels and recreational parks created for tourists, Fa’amoetauloa said.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has already said Government Building, located on the Apia waterfront, is to be converted into a five star hotel.

Fa’amoetauloa said negotiations with villages over customary land that might be affected by the long term plans will be carried out.

Or they might build tourism facilities around villages, he said.

The wharf at Matautu is to be relocated to Vaiusu Bay, adjacent to the Vaitele industrial zone as part of the move to the west of Apia.

Samoa relies heavily on tourism, an industry that has grown steadily to reach the WST$300 million [US$127.1 million] mark in earnings.

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