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Samoa to focus on tourist safety

Friday 22 July 2016 | Published in Regional

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SAMOA – Samoa police will hold awareness programmes in villages throughout the country on how best to provide support and better protection for tourists.

The safety of tourists in the country was questioned after the rape of an Australian woman by an escaped prisoner in September last year.

And more recently, a New Zealand couple was threatened in a village in Savai’i.

Radio New Zealand’s correspondent in Samoa says two young men were charged with actual bodily harm and possession of a dangerous weapon in that incident.

Despite the negative publicity since the 60 Minutes coverage of the rape of the Australian tourist the Samoa Tourism Authority’s marketing and promotions manager said they will continue to promote the ‘Beautiful Samoa’ campaign and continue to emphasise that despite what happened, Samoa remains as a safe and peaceful destination.

Police spokesperson, Maotaoalii Kaioneta Kitiona, said the police would need the support of local village councils to uphold law and order to protect visitors to the country.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegao said the editing of his interview with 60 Minutes, Australia aired last Sunday night was a “skewed attempt to paint Samoa as a dangerous tourism destination”.

A statement from the prime minister’s office said the 60 Minutes report aired in Australia was 13 minutes in duration and less than two minutes of that were given to the prime minister’s questions and responses.

“The prime minister, whose office is always open to the media, was interviewed for more than half an hour with the team from 60 Minutes.”

His responses were edited to fit the reporter’s storyline , the statement suggested.

See Samoa’s response to 60 Minutes report on next page.

- PNC