Samoa is taking a major step towards strengthening travel bubble relations with a new virtual exchange program, and is seeking collaboration from Kiwi businesses.
The Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) has launched the South Pacific Tourism Virtual Exchange Program and is calling on fellow New Zealand tourism and hospitality specialists and businesses to collaborate on the upskilling of industry workers ahead of borders reopening.
Championing Pacific-bubble relations, the new learning program will enable international industry skill sharing via interactive online webinars, engaging mentoring sessions and the sharing of key industry insights and resources, with a particular focus on food and beverage and language lessons.
Once international border restrictions ease, phase two of the program will facilitate face-to-face experiences in Samoa, where New Zealand hospitality and tourism specialists who participate in the program can spend time with their Pacific island brothers and sisters.
While Samoa continues to be one of the few nations free of COVID-19, the impact of the pandemic has been felt across the country with the majority of Samoa’s tourist hotspots owned by local families.
The international initiative is part of a SAT$1 million investment from the Government of Samoa to provide free industry courses and financial assistance to its tourism and hospitality workforce.
Samoa Tourism Authority CEO Fa’amatuainu Lenatai Suifua said there’s never been a better time for New Zealand businesses to lend a hand to their Pacific neighbours.
“The Samoa Tourism Virtual Exchange Program has been created to not only train and upskill Samoan operators during this downtime but to also foster stronger relationships with our brothers and sisters in neighbouring nations,” he said.
“It’s been a challenging year for many of our tourism and hospitality operators, particularly those who rely so heavily on international visitors to keep them afloat. The new training program provides a fantastic opportunity for these struggling businesses and displaced employees to learn from some the best in the world.
“We look forward to welcoming the New Zealand businesses wanting to exchange industry expertise with our tourism aiga (family) over the coming months.”
All New Zealand businesses and specialists that take part in the Samoa Tourism Virtual Exchange Program will enter the draw to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Samoa.
To join the training program, businesses and specialists must email email@example.com(link sends e-mail), providing insight into their industry expertise and what they can provide to Samoan tourism operators as part of the virtual training program.