“Day in the Life of a Samoan” Gives Tourists a Taste of Island Life

The Takeaway: American Samoa’s coastal program partnered with the visitors bureau to promote local culture, coastal stewardship, and economic development.

The islands of American Samoa boast beautiful beaches, dense coastal villages, and a tropical paradise. Arriving in American Samoa in early 2018, more than twenty tourists from cruise ships enjoyed an experience of local island fare, traditional storytelling and plate making, and a trip between villages by canoe. When these visitors were asked in a survey, “How much would tourists pay to participate in the excursion?” their answers averaged $75 per person, a hopeful sign for partners working to make the activity a permanent tourist attraction. The American Samoa Coastal Zone Management Program partnered with the American Samoa Visitors Bureau to carry out this pilot expedition.

“A Day in the Life of a Samoan” focuses on the fautasi tradition—a Samoan word for canoes made of hollowed-out trees, and a term signifying pride in the community and cultural tourism. Although progress toward a permanent excursion was set back when 2018’s Tropical Cyclone Gita hit the island, the visitors bureau and local tour operators are rebuilding its foundation. Next steps will include strengthening the plan and bringing in more public and private partners.

The excursion survey was designed by the coastal program. The visitors bureau provided a docking area and worked with the coastal program and Hawaiian Airlines to promote the territory’s coastal beauty and the fautasi tradition. (2019)

Partners: American Samoa Coastal Zone Management Program, American Samoa Visitors Bureau, Hawaiian Airlines, villages participating in the fautasi program