Samoa Tourism Authority CEO, Faamatuainu Lenatai Suifua has been appointed Deputy Chairperson of the Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO).
The Appointment was confirmed at the Organisation’s Board of Directors Meeting which took place virtually on 27th October. The meeting comprised of SPTOs 21 member countries, and its private sector representatives.
Faamatuainu thanked his Pacific colleagues for the trust placed in him and acknowledged his predecessor, the late Josefa Tuamoto, CEO of Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau who held the position until his recent sudden passing.
“It is an honour and a privilege for me to take up this appointment, and I look forward to contributing further to the work of the SPTO and the development of sustainable tourism in the Pacific region”.
Faamatuainu Lenatai will serve alongside Halatoa Fua, CEO of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, who was elected as the Chairman for a term of three years in October 2020.
Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, SPTO is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region.
Its 21 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna, Rapa Nui and the People’s Republic of China. In addition to government members, the Pacific Tourism Organisation has around 200 private sector members.
Faamatuainu was appointed CEO of Samoa Tourism Authority in June 2019, taking over just as the industry entered a period of facing unprecedented challenges.
He has since led the implementation of programs to encourage domestic tourism, and create jobs for hundreds of those affected in both Upolu and Savaii by the Covid-19 border lockdowns which for Samoa, came immediately after the impacts of the 2019 measles outbreak.
In earlier interviews, Faamatuainu has always reiterated the important role of tourism as the backbone of economic growth and development for Pacific economies, stating the need to focus on working together.
“Tourism is a key pillar for Pacific island economies, so close collaboration with all stakeholders is needed for the success of the tourism industry,” says Faamatuainu.
“O le mea pito sili lena ona tāua o le tatou galulue fa’atasi ma felagolagoma’i aua le atina’eina o si o tatou atunu’u”.
“Tourism has been a key driver of business development opportunities that the private sector and many in the community and informal sector can benefit from..
“When international travel eventually restarts, those opportunities will gradually open up once again, and we hope through the strategic efforts of governments and all stakeholders, as well as ongoing support from our development partners to then move forward to rebuild and recover,” encourages the Samoa Tourism CEO.
Faamatuainu Lenatai Sala Suifua holds a Masters in Environmental Laws and a Bachelor of Social Science in the area of Resources and Environment Planning.
He also holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Development Planning, a Diploma in Business and Tourism and received an award as a Certified Professional Engineer.
A believer of continous education, the Tourism CEO attained his degrees from various universities in the region. He has studied at University of the South Pacific, Emalus Campus in Vanuatu and the University of Waitako in Hamilton, New Zealand. He was also a student of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and the National University of Samoa.
Faamatuainu started his public service career in 2003 as the Planning and Development Officer at the Samoa Tourism Authority.
In 2008 he was appointed as STA’s Principal Human Resources Officer.
He left STA in 2010 to take up a posting in Project Management for Climate Change under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. He returned to the Tourism Authority several years later where he served as Manager/ACEO for Planning and Development before he was approved by Cabinet over the weekend to take up the Chief Executive Officer’s post.