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Further plea for help as 50 hotels close in Samoa and hundreds jobless

Tupa'i Sale'imoa Va'ai
Source: RNZ Pacific

Apia, SAMOA — The Covid-19 stimulus package passed by Samoa's Parliament last week may have come too late for some hotels and their workers.

The government announced a $US23.6 million package to deal with the impacts of the Covid-19 coronavirus, however the Samoa Hotel Association (SHA) indicated more help may be needed.

The association said more than 50 hotels had temporarily closed their doors since the global Covid-19 pandemic started.

Association President Tupa'i Saleimoa Vaai told the Samoa Observer newspaper that over 500 workers had lost their jobs.

He suggested that could double within the week.

The SHA had put in a submission to government for further assistance as hotels tried to recover from the economic blows of, firstly last year's measles outbreak, and now the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier Samoa's Finance Minister Sili Epa Tuioti said he had not seen any specific submission but conceded it may be working its way through to his office.

Tupa'i said by the time the preventative measures, like lockdown conditions, were eased most businesses would be able to get back to normal but the tourism industry could take up to a year to recover.

He said many countries continued to have border restrictions and confidence to travel would remain low for some time.