3 Jun 2014

Samoa gets tourism boost

12:15 pm on 3 June 2014

The New Zealand government is to spend almost US$900,000 on boosting Samoa's tourism sector.

The announcement was made in Samoa this morning by the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, who says the funding will help the Samoa Tourism Authority upgrade visitor attractions.

Mr Key, who's on the first leg of a three-nation Pacific tour, will today visit areas affected by the 2009 tsunami and Cyclone Evan in 2012.

Earlier he met Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and discussed plans to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Indira Moala reports from the Samoan capital.

"The two prime ministers discussed the Regional Seasonal Employment scheme between Samoa and New Zealand, New Zealand's future contribution to Samoa's tourism industry as well as the development of Apia's waterfront expansion. Mr Key said there was endless potential in the project which he believes would enrich the heart of Samoa's city. He also spoke fondly of the village of Poutasi which he will visit on Tuesday. Poutasi is the village that honoured Mr Key with the Matai title To'osavili. Tuilaepa, who is also the president of Samoa's Rugby Association, was hopeful the All Blacks would play a test match in Samoa, but John Key said the decision was up to New Zealand's Rugby Union. The visit has also provided the opportunity to introduce the new ambassador of Economic Development in the Pacific, Shane Jones. John Key said the role was a valuable investment, given New Zealand's large contribution to the development of Samoa's economy."