Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Samoa Tourism

You are a member of the Samoan Government and have been approached by an overseas investor interested in investing in tourism in Samoa. S/he is not a Samoan national but wishes to be involved in ecotourism. What you advise them in terms of the process and the issues to be aware of?


  1. As a member of the Samoan Government, I would advise an overseas investor that they need to approach the chief of the particular village in which they wish to develop. Under the Matai system, the chief is in charge of deciding where accommodation can go. Furthermore, I would be sure to advise them on the system of land ownership. They must be aware that 81% of land is in held in customary title which means this land cannot be sold or transferred for 30 years. Therefore, they need to be sure they can organise a lease on any land they wish to develop which is in customary title. So, they need to be certain about the probability of success for their project.
    Secondly, in terms of issues to be aware of, the most significant is the fact that Samoa is a small island nation with a local economy that is dependent on the tourism market that generates the highest contribution to GDP. Furthermore, the country is heavily reliant on international aid and the cost of running the country is very high. A further issue to be aware of is the fact that the island nation is vulnerable in terms of its size, economy and geographic features being low-lying and coastal and is very susceptible to flooding, cyclones and landslides, which will only intensify as a result of climate change. In addition, tourism is attracted to the coastal edge where vulnerability is the highest. As a member of the Samoan government, the final piece of advice I would offer is to consider how they would deal with waste, power supply, sewerage, food supply, and freshwater supply. Also, an important consideration is how future development will maintain local character, employment, and redistributing profits locally rather than internationally.

    Georgia Sanders

  2. jjof001 jethro joffe 4893213

    As a memeber get of the samoan government it would be best to ensure that to come to an understanding that the invester will need to put local people in chargte of the operations so that locals can run the programme. Additionally a background check to see whether the company has successfully undertaken this kind of investment before should be investigated as in the south pacific there is a big problem with runaway investors, who say they will do something, get the funding and then gap it with all the money, something prevelant in place like in the cook islands where there are like several half built ventures that remain incomplete after such scams. The key is that the investment will need to generate as much profit if not more for locals then the investor, and still be feasible which is achievable, what needs to be considered is the flow on effects both negative and positive because ecotourism ventures are still profit driven and by nature going to exploit. Good planning is key, i suggest a firm like 'Lawrence Lane & Associates' to undertake the planning for such ventures.

  3. Ecotourism is defined by The International Ecotourism Society as "Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." (TIES, 1990). This includes minimising impact of tourism activities, respecting the hosting environment, culture and people.

    Firstly, as a member of the Samoan Government I would advise the investors to communicate with the local people to respect their land and culture in decisions made. They need to provide a tourism experience that focuses more on enjoying the beauty of Samoa’s natural environment and experiencing their culture without the need of a big flashy hotel. Resort accommodation should be based more on the use of natural materials such as adaptation of huts (see example below), creating a unique, yet comfortable living experience without compromising the natural character of Samoa to a great extent.

    example: http://www.levasaresort.com/library/photos/honeymoons/exteriorfale1fix.jpg

    An issue they must be aware of is that Samoa is an island with limited resources (natural & financial). Samoa is also very susceptible to natural disasters. If investors wish to construct new structures they must be aware of these issues and develop sustainably and sensibly. They must also take care in the amount of waste they may produce as well as water use – like perhaps using rainwater for toilets and showers.

    Hin-Hua Hsiao, 1144014

  4. As a member of the Samoan Government, I would like to advice the investor highly concerned about the context of Samoan, which includes history, planning system, cultural, protocol, festivals, environment, fact of both natural and physical resources, further development plan, and so on. Especially, the investor intends to be involved in ecotourism, such as being responsible for their environment and resources, respecting to their own cultural, and enhancing the economic development.

    For an overseas investor, there are two issues must be aware while further tourism development in Samoan. The first one is the influence from dual planning system. Due to the colony history, the dual system of power has been recognized, which includes traditional, colonial and democratic, and post-colonial. For instance, the fact of chiefliness versus market economy success has created by the unique planning system. The second issue is the about the shortage of both natural and physical resources. Specifically, Samoan is a small scale tourism, which always has issues about fresh water supply, sewage and rubbish control, food supply, and so on. Before any serious plans or strategies, these above issues must be taken into account beforehand.

    Hui Yin
    ID: 1159929

  5. As a member of the Samoan government, I would advise that he/she should be aware of the culture and protocols practiced by the Samoans. This is to ensure that the result of investing tourism in Samoa does not undermine the local culture and instead aim to showcase its local identity to the tourists. There are also several issues that the overseas investor should be aware of, in particular of Pacific Island planning. Issues relating to the environment should be planned for carefully such as the provision of fresh water supply, waste management, transportation, the alteration of coastal processes, etc. This is to ensure that new developments are aligned with the sustainable principles. On the other hand, the overseas investor should also be aware of how its business can generate local employment in Samoa as it is considered that the tourism market is the highest contributor to national GDP.

    Pamela Santos

  6. You are a member of the Samoan Government and have been approached by an overseas investor interested in investing in tourism in Samoa. S/he is not a Samoan national but wishes to be involved in ecotourism. What you advise them in terms of the process and the issues to be aware of?

    As a member of the Samoan Government, I would caution the potential investor in the some-what difficult business methods of the Country. As recognised by the other comments, and from in class discussions, the business methods are very different from euro-centric investment practises commonly employed in many developed countries.
    I would highlight and encourage the investor about the importance of tourism within Samoa, but highlight that the process is not as straight forward as within other areas. Important in the process would be an understanding of the Matai system, and an explanation of the land ownership conflicts.
    I would highlight the merits of long terms leases and the benefits both economically for the investor, but both for the local people in terms of employment, and education opportunities, but also in terms of this important and growing sector in terms of Samoa’s economy.
    I would also highlight the differences between developing an ecotourism venture in Samoa, in comparison to the other island nations, with an emphasis on the relative merits of Samoa to other neighbouring countries.

    Kelly Parekowhai

  7. As a member of the Samoan Government providing planning advice to an overseas investors regarding tourism in Samoa, from my opinion a precautionary and sensitive approach would be recommended.

    Samoa is a typically characterised as a relatively elevated small island in the south pacific that has gained popularity as a tourist destination due to its coastal attraction and rich local culture. On this note, processes that the overseas investor should be aware of is the legal context and how tourism activities can be developed in a way that is integrated with the local culture. The involvement of locals in the planning process will also be essential as their knowledge of the local setting and cultural input will inform how tourism developments should proceed from the cultural perspective.

    Assuming the overseas investor was looking into coastal developments, a precautionary and sensitivity approach is highly recommended in site selection and where development should take place in proximity to coastal edges. As a pacific island, Samoa is prone and vulnerable to natural disasters and storm activities. Risk assessments, national responses to natural disasters and the identification of vulnerable areas will all need to be carefully investigated if toursim coastal developments were of interest to the overseas investor.

    Mary Wong

  8. The first thing in which to advise the interested investor is about the Matai system which is the basis of Samoan government structure. This determines the customary title landownership system, which means land under this title cannot be sold or transferred for 30 years therefore the only way developers can gain access is through a lease.

    The second important aspect of Samoa is that it is a small island nation in which the local economy depends on tourism therefore the investor should have a local input into the development including management, employment and profit going back into the community. Because Samoa is such a small nation the issues of running a facility needs to be considered as transportation costs are higher due to its location away from the rest of the world. The same can be said about infrastructure as it is limited so they developer would need to deal with waste, power, sewerage, food and freshwater. Another consideration is that of the aspect of coastal threats from natural disasters which pose a high threat to the coast of Samoa. All of the above considerations need to be considered when looking at investing in the tourism industry of Samoa.

    Charlotte Belsham
    1195495. cbel063

  9. As a member of the Samoan Government there are several pieces of advice I would offer to a potential foreign investor, these would focus on issues of land ownership, resources, local economy, and local geography.
    In order to limit the potential for conflict and environmental degradation it would be proper to advise any foreign investor that 81% of land across Samoa is held in customary title. Awareness of the traditional and cultural system of ownership would be important for any investor in order for them to work in partnership or alongside traditional village chiefs or matai.
    The vulnerability of Samoa would also have to be considered by an investor, Samoa is still heavily reliant on international aid, and 80% of the 403km coastline is considered sensitive or highly sensitive to erosion flooding, or landslips. Awareness of the sensitive nature of the coastal areas would help to ensure that tourism developments may be carried out in an environmentally sustainable fashion. Overall, an investor would simply have to be aware of the ‘flow on effects’ of any development, physical, cultural, and economic if they want to make a profit and have a future in tourism in Samoa.

  10. As a member of the Samoan Government there are several pieces of advice I would offer to a potential foreign investor, these would focus on issues of land ownership, resources, local economy, and local geography.
    In order to limit the potential for conflict and environmental degradation it would be proper to advise any foreign investor that 81% of land across Samoa is held in customary title. Awareness of the traditional and cultural system of ownership would be important for any investor in order for them to work in partnership or alongside traditional village chiefs or matai.
    The vulnerability of Samoa would also have to be considered by an investor, Samoa is still heavily reliant on international aid, and 80% of the 403km coastline is considered sensitive or highly sensitive to erosion flooding, or landslips. Awareness of the sensitive nature of the coastal areas would help to ensure that tourism developments may be carried out in an environmentally sustainable fashion. Overall, an investor would simply have to be aware of the ‘flow on effects’ of any development, physical, cultural, and economic if they want to make a profit and have a future in tourism in Samoa.

    Adam Tung

  11. As a member of Government I would advise the prospective investor in eco-tourism to become familiar with both the legal and social context of Samoa and become familiar with the culture before attempting to invest. This would include gaining an understanding of the Matai system and customary title. I think a successful investment would be based on a strong relationship between the investor and the Matai and community where they want to develop, this relationship needs to be deeper than just a business relationship. The advice I would give would be to accept that planning in Samoa is not as pragmatic and rational as planning in other places and that they should be patient and open to the focus on community planning. The investor would also need to undertake research into the availability of local resources and skills to match the type of development the investor was envisioning.

  12. As with any perpective as a planner, working for the people of Samoa, you have to understand that the priority as a planner is based on the main interest of the people rather than for the investor, however from their point of view, they obviously want to make money as their maint interest, otherwise, why would they bother. It is crucial to ensure that the recommendation as per given is that Samoa is still a relatively developing country that relies heavily on international trade, mostly though the means of tourism and other related exports, although Taro is no longer a main export today. As a result of its economic background, Samoa presents a domino effect that can be effected in both positive yet negative manners. The local community is fragile and not adaptable under increasing changes due to a globalising world, therefore I would recommend that such tourism based developments be localised to a specific area that relates to the relivance and proactiveness of the concerning local community, in all, still aware of the local environment to ensure that both the environment is sustained in the current manner whilst economic returns can be achieved, not just to the community itself but to the investors otherwise such investments would not occur in the future.

    James Cheng

  13. Because of the difference in democratic structure within Samoa, whether it be grounded in a colonial discourse or be based on traditional values, I would firstly educate the investor, providing them a brief overview of the matai system.

    Although ecotourism is a favourable industry in Samoa, I would advise the investor that investment in this industry needs to follow the ‘traditional wants’ of Samoan tourism to keep it authentic in all rights. It will be essential to also emphasise Samoa’s heavy reliance on the tourism industry for the functioning of the local economy itself, which also stresses on the importance of investing in this industry and providing for its sustainability issues. In this regard, I would advise the investor that issues such as waste disposal, water supply, food supply, among others, are increasing issues for such an industry which will require attention. Along with this, providing the investor with an indication of Samoa’s coast situation will be essential to allow for the investor to fully consider issues of sustainability in the small Pacific nation, so it is managed and planned for to best protect the interests of Samoa being a Small Island Tourist Economy (SITE).

    Jayesh Parekh (jpar378)

    ID: 1141710

  14. Tourism in Samoa, like a number of small island developing states, is a leading export contributing 25 percent towards the nations GDP. The long-term success of tourism in Samoa will be highly influenced by the growing competition from other island nations offering similar products and also the isolation of Samoa from the world’s major tourism markets. A decline in the sector could have significant consequences with regards to employment and income in Samoa. It is therefore essential that the unique ecotourism approach is maintained to ensure the niche market of low budget travellers, interested in gaining an authentic experience, is captured.
    There is a tension between economic development in Samoa, namely tourism, and environmental protection. Tourism developments are largely developed around the coast, which 80 percent is classified as ’sensitive’ or ‘highly sensitive’ to coastal hazards. It is therefore important that future tourist development and the associated infrastructure are resilient to climate change and natural disasters.
    Finally, the socio-political conditions in Samoa are an important element to understand. Ecotourism in Samoa is based largely in the villages, with 81 percent of land in Samoa being held in customary title. Additionally, the use of the land is administers by the matai, reflecting the hierarchical social structure in Samoa. The communal ownership of the land can hinder development and also makes it difficult to lend money through private financial institutions.

  15. The explosion of tourism market in Samoa, in the last two to three decades has stimulated the growth of the national GPD. The outstanding tourism market in Samoa has the potential to attract more overseas investments. As a member of the Samoan Government, I would advise an overseas investor to recognise cultural value and legislation framework of the national, and to fully understand the impact of development activities to the environment. Firstly, consultation with local chief is crucial, because chief plays a fundamental role in managing and allocating future development. Secondly, overseas investor must aware that 81% of the land is in held in customary title which cannot be sold or transferred for 30 years; therefore prior site investigation is important. Thirdly, development must benefit to local community, this can be understood as promote local employment or enhance local amenities and so on.
    Qiaofeng Hu 4915881

  16. In order to make an investment in local tourism, first thing the oversea developers should know about the nation is land ownership. Samoa has a very high hierarchy structure. Matai controls everything happens within the land. Developer needs to ask for permission from them when choosing a particular area to develop. Also, 80% of the land is in held in customary title which cannot be sold or transferred. Investor needs to do some homework before choosing land to develop. Secondly, Investor needs to understand socio-economic situation of Samoa. Samoa has very small scale of economies, tourism is the major economic resource, its public infrastructure and administration are very costly. Most of Samoan rely on the aid money which is sent from other countries. To make the investment more achievable, the investor should come up some plans that can meet the needs of Samoan and is beneficial for he or she to earn good money. Thirdly, ecotourism focus on the coastal environment of Samoa. About 80% of the coastal area is identified as sensitive or highly sensitive. They are really easy to be affected by the natural disaster such as cyclone and tsunami. Therefore, before making investment, investor has to meausre the potential environmental impact the future development will cause on this area and to find out ways to prevent or mitigate these effects. Simply speaking, an oversea investment on this small nation can only be achieved when the plan is reaching to an agreement between Samoan and oversea investor.

    Yiwei Zou 1005356

  17. Yasmin Tapiheroe (ytap002)
    ID 1247099

    As a member of the Samoan Government, I would advise the overseas investor with a number of factors that they would need to consider prior to getting involved in ecotourism in Samoa.

    First is the issue of dual planning system in tourism industry. Within each village every family has a matai (chief) that is a member of the fono (council) who represents the interests of the family, including division of land uses/entitlement in the family, settling village disputes among many other duties. The fono is then responsible for administering justice within the village. This traditional matai system needs to be respected and considered by the overseas investor when investing in tourism in Samoa by holding a consultation with chiefs of any villages that may be affected by their development.

    Second of all, as a member of Samoan Government I would also stress the importance of sustainable development to the overseas investor. Samoan planners have identified that 80% of the 403 km coast is “highly sensitive to erosion, landslips and landslips”, however 70-80% of the population live “on or near to the coast”. This planning issue can easily be emphasized by unsustainable tourism developments that may pose further threats to Samoan coastal areas. The overseas investor must effectively plan and deal with waste, sewerage and water supply in order to avoid any adverse environmental effects to the local areas.

    My final piece of advise would be to remind the overseas investor again about the importance of sustainable and dual planning system in Samoa, which can be done by complying to the 2002-06 Tourism Sustainable Development Plan as well as holding ongoing consultation with local matai/chiefs in the surrounding villages.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. As a member of the Samoan Government, I would firstly let the overseas investor know our government effort to develop tourism industry in our country and especially for developing ecotourism and having a sustainable development approach. Secondly, I will tell them the fact that Samoa maintains a small approach to tourism development, and our government has a strong desire to control our culture identity. With respect to that, the developers have to ensure any new development and construction on land does not destroy the existing natural environment and local culture is preserved and respect is given to matai and village chief. More importantly, development is done according to village and matai custom, which means to the overseas investors that any piece of land in Samoa cannot be sold or transformed. The issues that the investors need to be aware of include the natural disasters, which may have an effect on local provision of infrastructure, and the issue of lack of government’s support of insurance money and aid money is informed.

    Xinyue Wang 1181130

  20. Whilst there are many opportunities and to expand the tourism industry in Samoa, the government requires overseas investors and the Samoan government alike to take factors into consideration.

    There would be a need to cater to and for tourists as well as sustain the local economy through community development projects. A dialogue between the community and the foreign investors should be a priority to bridge this gap. It would be most advantageous if this tourism project to be administered and managed by locals in order to best ensure the project is successfully managed in a way that is authentic whilst encouraging community development by empowering local people through the mobilization of skill sets throughout the region. This will also stimulate local economy, thus contributing the national GDP.
    Foreign investors need to consider the cultural nuances and protocols associated with the Samoan culture. Any investor must be aware of these cultural nuances in order for them to successfully work in partnership with chiefs and matai. It is also important for the government to consider the fragility of Samoa’s economy at the present time. Furthermore, they must consider geographic vulnerabilities that the small country harbours. These include the low-lying nature of the landscape as well as its susceptibility to floods and landslides and the fact that 80% of the coastline is sensitive to erosion.

    Audrey Songan (4966080)

  21. As a member of the Samoan Government, I believe that it is essential for investors to be educated about Samoa with a particular emphasis of current and past planning systems, local culture, plans for future development, as well as protocol. While this is important for ensuring that tourism in Samoa does not detract from the local culture, it also promotes economic prosperity by showcasing its local identity to visitors.
    There are a number of issues that overseas investors must be aware of when establishing themselves and their capital in Samoa. Firstly, it is important that they are aware of the dual planning system and colonial history that permeates Samoa’s political foundations. For example, the notion of chief-lines versus market economy success has generated a planning system that is unique and must be understood by the investor.
    It is also important that Samoa’s unique environmental conditions are understood and taken into consideration by the investor. For example, Samoa and its small-scale tourism industry is burdened and affected by issues of fresh water and food supplies, as well as sewage and rubbish control. These issues should be planned for carefully in order to ensure that new development aligns with sustainability principles.

    Simon Andrew 1279947

  22. In Samoa there are many issues that the investor should be aware of. For example, problems with waste disposal, shortages of water and the coastal situation will affect how the investor’s tourism development will function. As the tourism project may affect these issues that exist within the country it is important that the investor understands the responsibilities that they will face to ensure that these issues are not intensified as a result of their development. Essentially, they should adopt sustainable practices so that they meet the definition of ecotourism which places obligation on them to “conserve the environment and improve the well being of local people,” (TIES 1990).To keep in compliance with this definition, I would also inform the investor of the importance of involving locals while establishing the tourism project. This is because it is the locals that can provide a cultural perspective and hold the greatest amount of knowledge about the treasured areas and beautiful sights on the island which is essentially what tourists come to enjoy.

    Shilpa Maharaj #1271697

  23. As a member of the Samoan Government advising an overseas investor interested in investing in tourism in Samoa I would encourage a long term outlook for tourism investment. This is the most appropriate response to the desire to preserve fa’aSamoa. This foundation for tourism in Samoa was identified by a wide variety of stakeholders surveyed (Pearce 2008). Seeking the economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing of my country I would wish for a holistic approach in any new tourism venture. The resilience of village communities into the future a main concern. A suggested tourism approach that meshes well with this priority is ecotourism. This is possibly one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the world. It is appropriate and realistic in its scale for tourism ventures in Samoa.

    Pearce, D.G. 2008. ‘Tourism Planning in Small Tropical Islands: methodological considerations and development issues in Samoa’. Ètudes Caribéennes Avril-Août 2008. http://etudescaribeennes.revues.org/1393.

    Melanie Cripps

  24. As a member of the Samoan Government I would be positive to potential investors about the many opportunities that can arrise from tourism, especially 'ecotourism' in Samoa.Tourism investment requires specific planning if it is to work in an island environment with minimal resources and less capacity for high numbers of people. Damage to the coast would be a huge issue for the nation, so this needs to be protected as well as possible to ensure that it is there for generations to enjoy. The investor would also need to be aware of the social system in Samoa, which is based around the Matai system, which puts the 'Matai' in charge of an extended family who looks after the interests of that family. The investor needs to respect this way of life, and work with the local people and ensure that they are included in as much of the process as possible. Because it is for the best interests of both the investor and the people to make the business sucessful, working together is imperative

    Sarah MacCormick

  25. As a member of government I would feel that it is in the best interests of the samoan people to not only protect there culture but looking for opportunities to enhance there current conditions. Overseas investment will bring needed monies into the local economy therefore it can be seen as a major positive for the people. However in order to protect the samoan people, there culture and lifestyle it is important that they are involved in potential developments and that employment opportunities are available.

    So the investor it would be important to not only advise them on the matai social systems and the implications of working within in it. But also caution him about not involving and employing local people to the development.

    Olivia Wech 1206908

  26. As a member of the Samoan Government I would advise an overseas investor to travel to Samoa and stay for a substantial length of time (six months). This will familiarize the investor with the area and allow them to understand the nature of the area and culture. Through understanding the villages more intricately, the investor would gain further knowledge on where would be appropriate to develop. The investor would also need to become familiar with the 'Matai' system, which puts the Matai in charge of the interests of their extended family.

    The investor would never understand the social structure of the area without immersing themselves in the culture and becoming confident in understanding the needs of tourism in Samoa as there are a number of complexities in their current needs in terms of infrastructure and economic stability.

    Rachael Thomas

  27. As a member of the Samoan government dealing with an international investor, I would take the time to explain the way the local political system worked. Ensuring they understood the Matai system and how the Matai typically takes responsibility for the administration of family land and deals with problems in that area would be crucial.
    I would then suggest the investor to talk to other foreign investors who have successfully carried out their development with positive interactions with the local Samoan's. Having someone explain what was difficult for them and what worked would be invaluable.

    In terms of addressing ecology and environmental issues, it would be vital to ensure the importance of tourism and the natural environment to Samoa's economy is explained and understood. It would also be important to note that Samoa is largely coastal and 80% of that coastline is susceptible to erosion and flooding. Any development would need to address this and be carried out in such a way to ensure no further damage or risk to the island is created.
    In addition the developer would need to be aware of the need to address issues of obtaining fresh water from an already overburdened system, and waste and sewerage disposal on a delicate environment.

    Samuel Foster 1231978

  28. As a member of the Samoan government advising a foreign investor I would let them know that to ensure any chances of a successful development they would need to spend more than 6 months scoping the island and understanding the way of life that exists in Samoa. The matai system whereby the matai or village chief has authority and responsibility over the land will become evident to the investor after spending a decent amount of time on the island.

    I would spend time ensuring that the investor plans with the local community of Samoa instead of just for them by to some extent incorporating their values and interests and knowledge of their land into the future development as this is likely to provide useful insights to the developer and is likely to have a better outcome for not only the developer (keeping in mind that Samoa wants to take advantage of tourism) but the local community as well (i.e ensuring that people still have access to coastal areas).

    Lastly, I would make the developer aware of the associated issues with future development on the island such as disposal of waste water, sewerage and rubbish, the risk of coastal erosion as well as the potential harm to local biodiversity which could be adversely effected by the development.

    Holly Coates

  29. As many have mentioned, as a part of the Samoan Government, I would advise the investor of the existence of dual planning in Samoa as it has been colonised before. It is important to be aware of the legal and social frameworks especially the Matai system, which is a traditional practise. Samoa is a small nation island that largely relies on tourism for the economy. I would encourage investor but tell them to spend some time to understand the local environment, get to know the local people and how things operate before starting the development. Know how many job opportunities they could create for the local and allow local management.

    As Sandy has said, ecotourism is about tourism that minimises the impacts and effects on the environment that are caused by tourism. This would cause an issue of sustainable development as well as development that fits with the natural environment. About 80% of the coastal environment is unstable and sensitive to erosion and landslips, which needs to be considered by the investor. There would be issues of limited resources and how to deal with waste, energy supply, sewage, water, transport and pollution.

    There are also risks such as the coastal area is prone to natural disasters and is dependent on international aid. Also, tourism often means closing off part of the coastal area to locals and making it private to tourists, which is something the locals would disprove of. Most land is owned under titles which mean that land would need to be leased. These are some of the issues the investor needs to be considered.

    Tin Lo

  30. As a member of the Samoan Government, I would do my upmost to provide the potential investors with information about the countless opportunities present there. It is also necessary to inform the investors of the context of Samoa to ensure the culture and local heritage goes undisturbed. Protecting the environment, specifically the coast line is vital to Samoa, and the investor must realise this to ensure no damage is done.

    Involving the community and responding to their needs is important and needs to be addressed. Therefore I would advise the investors to provide employment positions within the tourism venture to local Samoans. This will tie in well with their local culture, allow them to voice their opinions and thoughts while respecting the dual planning system they have in place. Doing this while consulting with local chiefs will ensure they work in harmony with Samoa, while doing well not to disrupt the natural and cultural amenities present there

    Benjamin Christian-Webb

  31. The International Ecotourism Society’s (TIES) principles have been matched with other important issues identified by Pearce (2008):
    Minimize impact: ‘…waste-water disposal and efficiency of water use’.
    Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect: of fa’aSamoa
    Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts: ‘Providing adequate and appropriate services and facilities through product enhancement and new product development, especially in terms of improving and extending activities and attractions to make Samoa a more appealing place to visit.’
    Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
    Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people: ‘Continued infrastructure development...Developing a human resource programme to provide sufficient well-trained staff, increase levels of professionalism and enhance tourism awareness in the villages.’
    Raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate: ‘...the resolution of land issues and a supportive investment climate are also needed...Enabling the sustainable growth of tourism by identifying and managing the impacts of tourism, particularly specific areas of fa’aSamoa sensitivity and environmental pressure points... Developing an appropriate institutional framework to support the activities of government agencies and the private sector...Broader external uncertainties were seen to result from a volatile civil aviation environment, regional and international instability and economic conditions in the major markets.’
    Pearce, D.G. 2008. ‘Tourism Planning in Small Tropical Islands: methodological considerations and development issues in Samoa’. Ètudes Caribéennes Avril-Août 2008. http://etudescaribeennes.revues.org/1393

    The International Ecotourism Society

    Melanie Cripps

  32. As a member of the Samoan Government, I would advise the overseas investor that their number one aim should be to respect the local people. In terms of their ecotourism venture, this will mean they should do a lot of consultation with the local people, and if they really want to make it successful, it would be wise for them to come to Samoa and experience the culture, the environment and the local way of life. It is critical that the investor understands how businesses must be run in Samoa, and that Samoa depends heavily on tourism to keep the country running. The ecotourism venture must therefore be appropriate for the Samoa context (i.e. small island nation), involve the locals, and be financially and physically sound (not on the coast for safety), so that it does not become a burden to the locals or the country as a whole.

    Elsa Weir
    Elsa Weir

  33. Pang Yi

    In order to achieve the success in ecotourism, it is strongly recommended to be aware of the social, economic and cultural situations first. In Samoa, the basic social unit is the extended family and each family has at least one matai who is the leader and administers the use of family land and settle disputes. For the investor it is significant to have consultations with matais and get permission from them for developing the land for ecotourism. Moreover, as a small island country Samoa has small economic scale, and tourism is considered as the main revenue for the government. The development must safeguard the profits for the Samoans and it should be achieved without damaging the natural coastal environment. Besides, the investor is advised to live in a Samoan family for a couple of days to experience the culture, the environment, and the local way of life. It is also a good opportunity to involve in local population and get their advices for the ecotourism.

  34. Fengqiao Han
    I think in this instance the first thing is to view the intention of the investor, so that appropriate action can be taken, for example, a short term low input activity will not have as much of an impact to Samoa compared to a long term, high input activity.

    once the proposed activity is identitfied, appropriate persons of interest, relevent parties, and persons can be contacted and brought together, in a discussion on how the things can be best accomplished.

    advice on local custome, political environment, social and cultural status quo should also be supplied to the investor.

    the process should work like a philter, at the beginning, the officials would weed out all the activities they deemed inappropriate, such as activities that have the potential to damage the natual environment of the area, and the meetting of the parties of interest of further elimanate other ones that does not respect or understand local people and environment.