Help us. Help us bring people to Savai’i.
If you listen closely, those would be the words of many hoteliers and tourism operators on Savai’i, who also wish to be given equal emphasis like Upolu.
Dive Savai’i Manager, Olaf Weinhold, told the business team that not many tourists are aware of Savai’i and the unique culture and beauty it offers.
He said for Dive Savai’i alone, since he bought the business from the previous owner six years ago, if anything the growth rate of the business is declining.
“We’re surviving but we’re not making big profit or so, it’s nothing like that,” Mr. Weinhold said.
“I think it’s because not enough people make the step on the ferry and go over to Savai’i. It’s just a fraction of all the tourists who come over to Savaii.
“It would be great if we could increase that fraction a little bit. If more people come to Savai’i then of course the tourism there will have a better life.”
Mr. Weinhold also suggested ways in which Samoa can better market the big island.
“Make the people aware that Samoa comprises two main islands. It’s not only Upolu that has all the attractions there, but it’s also the even bigger island of Savai’i with beautiful nature, with a laid back atmosphere, with original Samoan and original Polynesian culture, which you hardly find on Upolu and much more prominent in Savai’i.
“I think people are just not aware of it. They go for one day and then they realise, oh we should have spent much more days here on Savai’i. So if people could know more about that, which could happen in the airplane, in the airline brochures where they talk about Savai’i.
“When they talk about it with tour operators in their home countries, New Zealand and Australia, the tour operators would say yes it is nice, it’s good to go to Samoa, but if you go to Samoa don’t miss out Savai’i because that’s the original Samoa.
“I think those steps are really necessary, it doesn’t work out if you mention on the website there’s also Savai’i, that wouldn’t sell. You need to make it really personal and try to bring it to people’s attention on what they would miss out if they don’t go to Savai’i.”
Mr. Weinhold mentioned people are also lured to the dive operators on Upolu and it does not boost their business as well.
“Unfortunately more and more people take a step less to coming over to do the dive in Savai’i. More divers stay here on Upolu, which doesn’t help us that much.”
Dive Savai’i opens from Monday to Saturday and they offer tours of scuba diving and snorkeling. They also take beginning divers and snorkelers, including advance divers and diving courses.
“We usually show our guests turtles, no guarantee, but usually we find them.”