Research topic Increase In tourism In Samoa Introduction Samoa has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in the Pacific Islands due to its natural beauty. Positively, the tourism industry has been beneficial for Samoa economically but it also has its disadvantages which affects the environment and our culture. This research will aim to identify and describe three impacts as a result of the Increase in tourism In Samoa. It will further discuss the measures that have been taken to address these Issues as well as the consequences.
The Information collected for this research will be used as supporting references to my answers which were composed from an interview with the management of Le Lagoto Resort, a report from the Central Bank of Samoa and the use of internet sources relevant to this research. Impact of the increase in tourism to the environment Samoa is well known as a tourist destination for its natural and undisrupted environment which attracts people overseas resulting in an increase of tourist arrivals.
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The promotion of our country is advantageous but at the same time it has negatively Impacted our environment through air and sea pollution. For example, a tourist to travel to Samoa requires travelling on an airplane and travel to Savaii earns transportation by boat. Due to transportation needs to get to a destination these transportation methods are required. Therefore, the more flights travelling to Samoa will mean air pollution which contributes negatively to global warming.
On the other hand, the ferry that travels between Savaii and Upolu Island operating six times a day contributes to sea pollution which affects our marine life which most locals depend on for food and as a source of income. Furthermore, car rental companies holiday. This increase in vehicle use also contributes to air pollution but also results n damaging our road infrastructure. An increase in tourism results in a high demand for resorts to build more rooms to accommodate guests.
Locally owned beach falls are built using local timber from our natural resources or cutting down trees which in effect diminish bird and wild life creatures such as bats. Moreover, cutting down these trees for infrastructural use also results in soil erosion which removes minerals in the soil required for vegetation growth. Impact of the increase in tourism to our social & cultural values Tourist arrivals to Samoa consists different people travelling from overseas such as New Zealand and Australia, Just to name a few.
These people have their own culture, values and a different way of life compared to our Samoan culture in which the “infusion of tourist and locals can disrupt local traditions and cultures”2. For instance, the Siva Samoa or traditional dance has for some time now been incorporated together with other actions influenced by famous international moves that we see on the television. Also, we lose some of our cultural values when associated with “plagues” or Europeans as we get caught up or interested in their culture especially the influence in clothing is very obvious.
On the other hand, social relationships are formed between locals and tourists when they interact. However, in extreme cases where sexual interaction occurs between a tourist and a local, it may lead to diseases such as HIV Aids which is very common nowadays. Furthermore, tourists travelling individually may encourage local women into prostitution by offering them money for sexual favors which is demeaning and unacceptable in the Samoan community. Impact of the increase in tourism to Samoa’s economy Tourism has become one of Samoa’s main revenue earners with still 95% of our tourist industry locally owned.
Samoa saw an increase in tourism earnings for the month of March according to the latest Tourism and Remittances Report from the Central Bank of Samoa which shows that tourist arrivals were Just over 9,000, a 25 percent increase from the previous month. 3 The higher arrivals in the month under review reflected increases in all the main source markets, particularly, Australia and New Zealand, though there was a drop in travelers from the United States. It was also noted that ‘Samoa hosted several regional conferences and workshops during March and total tourism revenues rose 22 percent to 23. million tala; 7 percent higher than the same time last year’. 4 “Increase in tourism helps create employment for a large number of unqualified workers from the traditional sectors in the developing countries”5 such as Samoa. This statement is a fact as according to the interview I conducted with Gabriella of Le lagoto Resort. During their busy season they hire more employees which are mainly from the neighboring villages of and with the majority having low level of qualifications and minimum skills in the industry which leads to customer dissatisfaction and complaints.
This result in tourist’s not returning back to Samoa which reduces the number of tourist arrivals. However, having employment offered to the local community has contributed in them earning an income to support their families’ livelihoods. Secondly, it has also generated income for the people managing tourist attraction sights which are locally owned. For example, the Swimming with the turtle’s attraction is owned and those who want to swim and see the turtles. Moreover, due to the increase in tourists there is also an increase in demand from resorts for supplies of local vegetables and rusts to meet their guest’s dinning needs.
According to the interview, it was stated that Le purchases their produce mainly from the villagers with plantations instead of buying supplies from the main island to provide an income, as most locals are not employed due to the lack of business and industrial Jobs within the area. MEASUREMENTS In regards to maintaining a clean environment in Samoa, the Samoa Tourism Authority has implemented the Samoa Beautification scheme. This measurement is aimed at improving the cleanliness of Samoa and its environment which is an attraction to people from overseas.
Generally, the Samoa Tourism Authority awards the villages with the most outstanding cleanliness which is an incentive for the village community. In addition, other policies have been taken to address other environmental issues, such as the village communities marking or preserving certain areas for marine conversation which is seen along villages along the coast of Savaii. Moreover, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has also restricted certain forest areas for cutting down trees in order to maintain habitats for species.
Other measures include restrictions by village communities such as preventing rubbish rom being dumped in our oceans and burning rubbish in open areas which causes pollutions. Furthermore, the Samoa Tourism Authority has helped in addressing training requirements for the tourism industry sector in order to improve skills and knowledge in the hospitality trade. For example, APTC has offered assistance to most industry employees for customer service, and chef trainings.
Other trainings include bringing in specialists in the tourism industry from overseas to provide further knowledge on how to maintain the standard of tourism in Samoa. These trainings and conferences have made it possible for locals to obtain further knowledge and specific skills that benefit the tourism industry of Samoa. Moreover, our culture and people also promotes Samoa, it is obvious that our cultural heritage is preserved through different ways. For example, our Siva Samoa or Samoan cultural performances are show cased by resorts and hotels during their flavor nights.
In addition, activities such as showing tourists how to husk a coconut, how to make a usu, how to weave mats promotes the Samoan way of life. In my opinion concerning the environment, I think that planning is necessary to address environmental issues as this will help preserve our natural resources. For erosion and depletion of our wild life creatures can be addressed through enforcing laws by mates or high chiefs in the village. Air and sea pollution can also be reduced if tourist arrivals decrease as this means less flights operating.
In relation to social and cultural issues affected by the increase of tourism, some measures should be undertaken to prevent tourists from performing unacceptable acts or behavior while in Samoa. For example, if we look at countries in Asia, tourists are the main customers for prostitution centers; although it is legal in these countries it still does not portray a good image of this country. However, these types of acts will certainly not be accepted in Samoa, a country with strong values and good morals in which we hope to maintain in the future.
In regards to employees with low qualifications and no skills in the industry, Gabriella stated that they address this issue through on the Job training by our assistant manager. Another method used to address this problem has been implemented by the Samoa Tourism Authority through their industry training delivered in the workplace programs. This includes the Signature Cocktail and Bartender Competition to be held during Teuila Festival which will help improve bartenders services for hose employed at resorts and hotels.