Tourism is the dominant sector of the Samoan economy, contributing more than 20% of its GDP. The principle resource bases of tourism are Samoa’s pristine beaches and its coastal, lagoon and reef areas. Some 70% of Samoa’s population live within the coastal strips, with tourism operations generally within 100 meters of the coastline. As they are adjacent to the coast, many operators and reliant communities are exposed to the impacts of climate change-induced natural hazards and other long-term incremental changes like rising sea-levels.
To address these issues, this project (2013-2017) focuses on expanding the resilience of natural and socio-economic systems in tourism-related operations and areas; on enhancing livelihood strategies; and on supporting communities to weather climate change-induced hazards. The initiative supported the formulation of integrated and climate-sensitive Management Plans for five Tourism Development Areas, involving at least 10 villages, 16 community-owned tourism operations, four tourism attractions, and the wider communities in the villages of South-East Upolu, Manono, Eastern Savaii, Northwest Savaii and South East Savaii.
The project’s objectives are pursued by strengthening multi-level stakeholder collaboration and public-private partnerships, in order to introduce a set of locally-tailored adaptation measures; strengthen institutional capacities to integrate climate change and disaster risks in tourism-related policy frameworks; and improve local awareness and understanding of the importance and benefits of preparedness in the face of climate change risks.