During this worldwide pandemic, the South Pacific nation of Samoa would like to encourage travellers to add greener destinations to their bucket list. With environmental protection and sustainability expected to be increasingly popular post-COVID-19, Samoa is geared-up to showcase its protected, natural wonders, deep sense of community and the Fa’aa Samoa (the Samoan way).
As a small island nation, featuring various landscapes from volcanic mountains to golden beaches and crystal waters, Samoa’s ecosystems are very diverse. The combination of tropical climate and fertile soil make Samoa the perfect breeding ground for rainforests and other lush landscapes, alive with native wildlife, like skinks, flying foxes, geckos, many types of birds as well as unique flora. It is therefore no surprise that eco-tourism and sustainability have become a massive priority for the South Pacific islands in recent years, with Samoa being a regional leader in sustainable tourism interventions.
Samoa’s capital, Apia, is home to the Pacific Climate Change Centre, which serves as a space to deliver climate change development research and programmes. With 50% of the centre’s energy being driven by solar power, and various water-saving technologies, the building hopes to be running completely on renewable energy in the future. Local businesses are encouraged to follow the Sustainability Charter, to help contribute to community well-being, economic development and environmental conservation across the nation.
With climate issues affecting Samoan and other Pacific Island economic sectors as well as citizens’ well-being, the Pacific islands took part in the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference (COP 25) held in Madrid last December. The event discussed the extent in which Parties in the Paris Agreement meet the 1.5°C global warming target.
Future visitors to Samoa have the choice of staying in a wide range of eco-friendly accommodation, from traditional wooden beach fales and self-catering bungalows/villas to sustainable luxury hotels and surf resorts. On these “Treasured Islands of the South Pacific”, sustainable tourism has been in place for many years; with the majority of the resorts contributing towards the local economy by paying a tax to the neighbouring village(s) who own the land, employing their inhabitants to run the business and sourcing food from the local farmers and fishermen.