18 Jan 2016

American Samoan tourism hits 'stumbling blocks'

12:08 pm on 18 January 2016

A prominent American Samoa hotelier has hit out at what he says are stumbling blocks to improving the territory's fledgling tourism industry.

Thomas Drabble, who owns the Sadies by the Sea and the Sadie Thompson Inn hotels, is the second-largest hotel operator in American Samoa.

Appearing before a government committee reviewing his nomination to become a board member for the American Samoa Visitors Bureau, Mr Drabble spoke candidly about the government's attitude to tourists.

"One of the big detriments that we have is the attitude of a lot of our government departments towards the business of tourism. For example, the immigration office. Now they took on a very harsh stand towards visitors right after 9/11 and I guess they've kind of followed the US."

However, Thomas Drabble failed to be appointed to the board after he fell short in the committee vote by one vote.

A motion of reconsideration has been filed.

American Samoa Vatia Village

American Samoa Vatia Village Photo: TORSTEN BLACKWOOD / AFP