Migration and Tourism Development in Samoa

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This paper will analyze the Teuila Tourism Festival, which was first held in 1992 for the purpose of attracting more international tourists to Samoa. The Festival involved competitions in traditional singing and dancing as well as other semi-traditional activities. It was enthusiastically welcomed by the Samoan people and was turned into a national celebration of sports and performing arts, but the reactions of international tourists were less easy to define. They may have found the Festival too elaborate for their tastes. On the other hand, among foreign visitors to Samoa, VFRs (visiting friends and relatives), who are almost all Samoan emigrants and their children, outnumber holiday visitors. While most people who are involved with tourism development do not consider VFRs tourists, I would suggest the contrary because VFRs follow to some extent the activities of international tourists. The difference between international tourists and VFRs however, is that the latter typically have a greater appreciation for the elaborate details of the Teuila than the former. In this sense it may be fair to call the Festival a major tourist attraction. In any case, events such as the Festival provide a means for the Samoan government to develop its policy of preserving traditional culture as well as a way to attract overseas Samoans back home.


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