4 Aug 2008

Samoa tourism minister calls for lower fares for Christmas holiday flights

10:59 am on 4 August 2008

Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Misa Telefoni, has challenged Air New Zealand and Polynesian Blue to start providing more flights and drop airfares.

He says fares are 800 New Zealand dollars one-way from Auckland to Apia in December, although a search of the web shows flights are available for under 600 dollars.

The call comes as the deputy prime minister launched the Samoa Hotel Association's first strategic plan for the next four years.

Misa says the government will seek charter flights from other overseas based airlines such as Qantas or Air China if the only two

major airlines providing international flights to the country fail to co-operate.

The deputy prime minister says most New Zealand-based Samoans who plan to visit for end of the year holidays are complaining of the very expensive fares.

According to Misa, Air New Zealand and Poly-Blue should start selling more cheap fares before the end of the year holiday period as it would benefit many small hotel and beach fales operators.