Re: Agritourism Park: A genius idea or another waste of money?
Argo-tourism is a fantastic development and provides significant benefit to the participants and the country when it is done right.
I agree therefore with the government that we need to develop in this area as there is as said, good financial rewards for the country overall if we get it right.
One of the challenges we have always had as a country is how we actualize these visionary ideas to make them viable and sustainable.
We know from previous experience that the private sector is better at managing commercial ventures, we also know from experience that without the correct financial backing and structures it doesn’t matter who runs it, it will fail whether government or private sector.
So that leaves us at a bit of a cross-roads.
We have our visionaries at our tourism ministry saying we need our tourism to reap the rewards in this area, we have the private sector and a current participant in agro-tourism saying the park idea should be discarded and left to the private sector to develop.
However we have a problematic situation.
Our current agrotourism is far from the levels that the Ministry feels it could achieve in terms of making Samoa more “Beautiful” therefore the suggestion of the park.
So where does that leave us?
Basically in a messy situation, but I believe if we can stick to crunching the numbers which we are notoriously bad at doing we can come up with a win, win situation.
From an investment perspective, what would be the lowest cost investment that would give us the best results?
I have to say developing our existing participants makes the most sense to me because you obviously have passionate motivated individuals involved in the industry.
We all know it doesn’t matter how much money you throw at something - if you do not have these types of people involved you are literally going to be flogging a very expensive dead horse.
Having said that there is nothing worse then someone who comments on a problem without offering a solution so here is my 10 sene worth (we no longer have the 2 sene, therefore the need for a bit of inflation):
$9.14 million is a lot of money depending on how you spend it.
Firstly I think everyone should have a fair go at the money.
The Ministry has a vision of a park that they believe will make a significant return, the private sector feel they have their ideas. If that is the case, let us see some business plans.
Agro-toursim is a business.
Crunch the numbers and whoever shows the better ROI (return on investment), let them have the money or however much their business plan requires of the 9.14 million needed to make a successful or more successful venture depending on who it is putting forward the proposal.
Put the proposals to an independent panel to decide.
This would be the most logical approach in my view and would give a higher degree of confidence that we are investing in a well planned, well thought out and therefore more likely to be successful manner.