Samoa has been busy ramping up its preparation for travellers to return in anticipation of borders opening and welcoming tourists to the island nation later this year.
After successful travel bubbles were launched between Australia and New Zealand in and the Cook Islands and New Zealand in the first half of this year, Samoa predicts it will be joining the countries in the second half of 2021.
Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) has been working hard behind the scenes with local operators and national bodies, as well as with the Australian government, to ensure the Pacific nation is ready when a travel bubble is announced.
A series of developments and new processes have been actioned to ensure Samoa is travel-ready, prioritising the health and safety of local Samoan’s, and international travellers alike.
The framework includes a national vaccination rollout, Samoa’s own version of the digital tracing app, upskilling for local employees, upgraded travel instructions, and bolstered testing capabilities.
STA chief executive Faamatuainu Lenata’i Suifua said the organisation has been working hard to ensure the nation is prepared for when borders open with the appropriate neighbouring countries.
“As regional travel bubbles take shape, Samoa has been striving to ensure critical components of our travel-ready toolkit are in place,” he said.
“All of these efforts go towards ensuring we are in a position to open borders to our neighbours safely. We look forward to welcoming vaccinated visitors with open arms, when the time is right for all countries involved.”
As one of the original socially distant destinations, Samoa has recorded zero COVID-19 cases, and locals will be consistently working to make sure this remains the case.
Samoa’s national COVID-19 vaccination program is currently underway throughout the country, with 45,000 locals having received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine as of 21 June – just over 33 per cent of the eligible population.
From 14 June, Samoa’s Ministry of Health began to administer the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and by 21 June, more than 2,000 people had received the second dose.
STA has delivered the first round of health, safety and disinfectant training to upskill employees on necessary health measures and protocols for COVID-19.
With assistance from the Australian government, the sector has been fully supported through the provision of cleaning equipment, substances and PPE.
The Samoa National Emergency Operations Centre declared that from 1 July 2021, all travellers into Samoa must be fully vaccinated before they arrive.
The testing capabilities of the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS) have also been recently boosted.
Featured image source: Samoa Tourism Authority