December 16, 2020: Vaimoana Seaside Lodge is launching a week long “Christmas in the Bay” (CTB) Event this Friday (December 18) as the Asau-based hotel aims to boost visitor numbers to the area and bring the entire Itu-Asau district together in the spirit of Christmas with a variety of different daily activities planned.
CTB is an event initiated by the Vaimoana Seaside Lodge and led by an organising committee in collaboration with Savaii’s tourism industry through Savaii Samoa Tourism Association (SSTA) as part of an ongoing collective effort to promote Samoa as a holiday destination.
Owner of the Vaimoana, Tupa’i Saleimoa Vaai said the CTB organising committee initially started out with a smaller concept involving hotel guests and engaging the community within the Vaisigano #1 district but as the ideas flowed, the committee challenged themselves to go bigger and produce an event that could unite the entire Itu-Asau district in the spirit of Christmas.
“Once we started promoting the event earlier this month, the response from the residents in the district was one of excitement and we were very blessed to receive immediate support from local businesses as well as MPs of the district and as of right now their donations and in kind sponsorships are still coming in.”
Christmas in the Bay kicks off with a community outreach workshop on December 18 dedicated to educating select Fishers and members of the Aumaga on the threat of Alamea (Crown of Thorns Starfish) to the coral reef.
The Reef Warriors Workshop includes a practical session and cleanup led by Team Fish of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries ( MAF) which will take participants out into Asau Bay to demonstrate how to trace Alamea trails on coral as well as the safe removal and disposal of the poisonous starfish.
“It wouldn’t be Christmas in the Bay without first acknowledging the importance of our precious marine resource we have here in the Asau Bay, it not only contributes to local tourism but to the livelihoods of many in this area,” said Tupa’i.
On the week of Christmas, the event continues with a 3-day market held in Asau (December 22- 24) which offers free space to local farmers and vendors to sell their items. During the Christmas Market, event sponsors, Digicel, will not only be giving away spot prizes but will be setting up a pop up shop to sell mobile phones and other merchandise.
Visitors to the Christmas Market can expect to enjoy the festive sounds of Christmas carolling by local youth groups, fun activities for the children or have the option to watch the first inter-village, Round the Bay Alo Paopao Fun Race.
Coinciding with the various activities planned for Christmas in the Bay is perhaps the crowning star event which is a major undertaking by the CTB Committee in their efforts to “Light Up Da West Coast” with a Christmas Lights Competition.
With up to $2000 in cash prizes and hotel accommodation packages up for grabs, the competition invites households, businesses and Church youth groups from within Itu Asau district to enter.
“Our mission is to light up the most western point of Samoa as a symbol of our people’s enduring resilience, faith and hope during dark times” said Tupa’i.
“In the spirit of the Festival of Lights held in Upolu, we’re adding our light pillar to a nationwide beacon of hope and ensure we end this year on a high note after many months of non-stop challenges.
Christmas in the Bay has been the biggest event held by the Asau hotel to date and Tupa’i acknowledges the enormous support given by Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) and their event sponsors to help make it a reality.
“At the heart of this event is the lofty notion that we can bring people together in the spirit of giving and fellowship during a difficult period for our country” he said.
“We could not have put this together without the sponsorship of Samoa Tourism Authority who have supported many of the initiatives by the Savaii Samoa Tourism Association (SSTA) in our continual efforts to promote Samoa as a destination.
“Every contribution made by our generous donors; Digicel, Pacific Ezy,Taula Beverages and event partners, Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is going towards making this Christmas a very special and memorable one not only for the district but for all of Savaii – for that we are extremely blessed and grateful.”