New Brisbane route – a sign of great things to come

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Samoa Airways billboard at Brisbane Airport promoting the new direct service to Beautiful Samoa (Credit - Philip Warth)
Samoa Airways billboard at Brisbane Airport promoting the new direct service to Beautiful Samoa (Credit - Philip Warth)

10th November 2018 – Samoa Airways’ new Brisbane route has been welcomed with open arms by key players in the local tourism and travel industry.

Starting on November 13th, Samoa Airways will fly to Brisbane, adding to its list of destinations which already include Auckland, Sydney, Pago Pago, Fagalii and Apia.

The new route will be launched as part of the airline’s one year anniversary after it was re-launched as Samoa Airways, one year ago.

The route has been hailed as the beginning of great things to come for Samoan tourism and travel.

“Samoa will greatly benefit from growing this market which is one of the three traditional mainstays for Samoa.  Because it is short term travel, the opportunity for healthy growth is positive and highly probable”, said Adele Kruse, General Manager of the Insel Fehmarn Hotel at Motootua.

She is also the Chairperson for the Samoa Tourism Authority’s Board of Directors.

“Samoa in the past decade has developed investment in tourism resulting in over 2,000 rooms not including Beach Fales with corresponding 4,000 plus beds.  In addition, the growth in 4+Star Deluxe waterfront properties in the rural areas with more than 700 rooms has raised the bar for Samoa with competitive offerings similar to that of Fiji and the Cook Islands”.

Her sentiments are echoed by a key player in the local tourism industry, Taumeasina Island Resort.

“Brisbane is quickly becoming a mecca for Samoans living overseas, so it makes sense that our own airline is able to service the Samoans living in Australia.  Geographically, Brisbane is the closest city in Australia to Samoa.  The extra and more affordable flights, will be an excellent incentive to both the tourism market and the Visiting Family and Relatives market”, said Tuiataga Nathan Bucknall, General Manager for Taumeasina Island Resort.

One of the biggest players in the local tourism market, the Grey Investment Group, also welcomes the added route.

“It’s very exciting and we are so thrilled about this as it means growth for our business and hopefully it will also mean more tourists coming to Samoa”, said Tanya Grey, Director, Grey Investment Group, and owner of Samoa Scenic.

“We’re just really thrilled for Samoa Airways and for Samoa”.

The new route to Brisbane has been touted as a good, strategic move especially in a key market like Australia.

“Brisbane is the third largest major city on the East Coast with a population of approximately 2.2 million and an excellent gateway to the South Pacific. Queensland is also residence to approximately a third of the Samoan population in Australia.

“Australia’s population is around 25 million and more than 600,000 travelled to Pacific Island nations in 2017. A 6.2% growth was logged for the first quarter of 2018 over 2017 according to SPTO’s (South Pacific Tourism Organisation) first quarter analysis. During the first quarter of 2018, Samoa enjoyed a 9.1% growth in inbound travellers from Australia”, said Ms Kruse.

Local hoteliers look set to reap the benefits that this new destination will bring.

“Overnight – we have an increased capacity of seats into the country, which means more opportunities to fill our respective hotels and resorts, to assist with our tour operators and local businesses.  The option of different days to travel to Samoa will mean that Australians and Australian Samoans will have more choices in regard to their length of stay in Samoa.  And the exciting day times departures in both February and March will mean that for the first time out of Brisbane, we can attract a family market, with more reasonable times to travel with young children”, said Tuiataga.

Samoa Airways’ CEO, Tupuivao Seiuli Alvin Tuala said the national carrier is greatly encouraged by the support shown by the local tourism and travel industry.

“We’re delighted to add Brisbane to our network and to launch the inaugural flight on our anniversary is a special milestone for the National Carrier and Samoa as a whole”, said Tupuivao.

The launch of the new route and what it means for local travellers and industries has once again reinforced the need for Samoa to have its own airline.

“Samoa must take the wheel to drive its tourism progress.  We cannot compete without a voice in the aviation sector.  By virtue of establishing our national carrier, Samoa has the potential to even the playing field and assist with Samoa’s competitive offer.  In the short time Samoa Airways has been in the air, we have noted marked improvement in numbers from our new competitive position”, said Ms Kruse.

“While all our partners in the airline industry are important, we encourage our people to utilise our national carrier to fuel the sustainability of this endeavour in order to keep Samoa at the forefront of the game in determining her progress in tourism.  Together with our other partners, Samoa can make serious inroads to exponentially grow her arrival numbers and strengthen tourism’s continued performance as Samoa’s leading economic driver”.

These feelings of patriotism are shared across the board.

“Samoa having its own airline means that Samoans can influence their own destiny in regards to the tourism industry and have some control over prices set for their family and friends returning home”, said Tuiataga of Taumeasina Island Resort.

“I look forward to travelling on Samoa Airways when I go to visit my friends in Brisbane on the way home to Perth. Malo Samoa Airways!”

Said Ms Grey of the Grey Investment Group: “It’s very important as people can identify with the country through its own airline”.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with our partners in Samoa and Australia on initiatives to support the new service and ultimately unlock the benefits from improved air access to and from Samoa”, said Tupuivao.