15 Dec 2004

American Samoa says no to American territories promoting tourism together

5:23 pm on 15 December 2004

American Samoa's Department of Commerce director, Ali'imau H. Scanlan says marketing American Samoa together with other U.S. territories and freely associated states is too hard to implement.

Ali'imau was responding to a suggestion by Palau President, Tommy Remengesau, that the nations of Micronesia could boost tourism by packaging the region as one destination to serve American Samoa, Palau, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the Federated State of Micronesia.

Ali'imau says American Samoa's tourism market is not the same as Micronesia's market which is based largely on Japanese tourists.

He says American Samoa needs to sell a smaller region including its closest neighbours, Tonga and Samoa.

He says the opening of flights to Tonga from Apia with a stop in Pago Pago by Polynesian Airlines brings the three together making it easier to market.

Ali'imau says American Samoa would do best to focus on a more realistic plan and work on joint marketing for the smaller grouping.

He says promoting the two Samoas as one tourist destination is outlined in the provisions of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2001 between the late Governor Tauese Sunia and Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.