The potential of Samoa’s tourism market is huge.
Trudy Elise Stead said this when she talked about Samoa’s natural and untouched beauty.
She is in Samoa with her granddaughter and the drive from Faleolo International Airport to the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel leaves her wanting to explore more of what the island has to offer, especially for her granddaughter who’s a first timer here.
Trudy described it as a culture shock, saying it was a surprise to see ‘open houses’ around.
“It is something totally different from what we know and I guess it was kind of a culture shock for her to see all these open houses around,” she said.
Her parents were born in Samoa and she holds the island close to her heart. Employed as a social worker back in Wellington, New Zealand it is her third visit to Samoa to reunite with families.
For her Savaii was the epitome of natural beauty with its lush mountainous terrains and white sandy beaches, when she made her first visit to the islands back in 1976.
“Now there are hotels and you have to pay some money to go for a swim and the number of hotels in Savaii is increasing,” Trudy said.
However, there is potential for the local tourism market despite these changes.
“I think we need more information on a particular place because it will help tourists in going around. I think here is a huge potential in tourism, but the question is what they want,” she said.
She also has an understanding of the Samoan culture through her parents.
“I would hate (it) if the culture was lost. Tourism could either help support the culture or destroy it. What I have seen here in Samoa is that the culture is still intact. The beautiful side (of) the Samoan people needs to be developed, I haven’t seen that anywhere else. These guys always laugh. The culture is just about everything.”
Before they leave on Sunday, they will try and have a feel of life in Apia.”
“Samoa is very beautiful like the people, the potential of tourism is huge, but I wouldn’t like to see tourism dominate the people,” she added.