Vila Times

American Samoa wants to tap into booming Pacific wedding market

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American Samoa is looking at tapping into the wedding market — a booming industry in the Pacific — by amending local laws, hence allowing foreigners to exchange vows in the territory.

Current local marriage laws are a “big deterrent” for American Samoa to be a potential destination for weddings, for foreigners who want to wed in the territory, American Samoa Visitors Bureau executive director David Vaeafe told Samoa News.

A call to the Office of Vital Statistics by Samoa News elicited the following: To get a marriage license, you must have a valid Immigration ID, unless you are an American Samoa National or US citizen. As a foreigner, you must also obtain a letter from your sponsor approving the marriage.

Vaeafe said, “A village can do it with a chapel in which the whole village can participate; not just the hotels can do it.” He added, “This is another financial opportunity at the village level and it could be a great opportunity.”

Among the many developments dealing with tourism cited in the governor’s Comprehensive Report to the Fono and the feds, is the “marriage market”.

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga notes that in order to tap into the booming wedding industry in some of the most sought after wedding destinations in the Pacific like Fiji and Samoa, the local Visitors Bureau is working closely with the Department of Legal Affairs (which includes the Attorney General’s Office) to amend local marriage laws to make it easier for foreigners to get married in American Samoa.

“Revamping the local marriage program will attract couples from abroad to share their wedding vows in American Samoa, and possibly open new opportunities for the Territory to tap into this growing marriage market in the Pacific,” the governor said.

Of note, many locals have been getting married in Samoa, and have cited being able to be married in the church there — as well as the variety of hotels and venues available for reception and honeymoon. Affordable airfare has also been mentioned.

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